ERIC BIBB’S DIAMOND DAZE
Album Review of:
‘DIAMOND DAYS’ by ERIC BIBB
(2006, Telarc Blues CD-83660)
It starts with that playful old click of the stylus dropping onto the play-in groove of crackly vinyl. But there’s little else retro about ‘Diamond Days’. This is discreetly articulate, literate acoustic music planted firmly in now, balanced by an intelligent respectful acknowledgement of progenitor roots and past masters – ‘look ‘em up on the net’ Eric Bibb advises. He runs a spectrum of Blues styles and techniques – from the kind of gospel-infusion on “Shine On” that even a militant atheist like me can enjoy, then takes in Dylan (“Bucket Of Rain”, the album’s only non-original song) allied to Martin Simpson’s educated guitar, through the jazzy intimate interplay of the live “In My Father’s House”, into the deceptively-simple chords of “Destiny Blues” which universalises the existential itch at the heart of consumer opulence.
While so much current music is hopelessly impassed in repetition and replication, Eric Bibb takes the oldest form of twentieth-century music and extricates it all diamond-sharp by exposing the autobiographical truth of clear-sighted poetic observation. On an album replete with the Easter-eggs of hidden tracks and video-clip additions, nothing is contrived. Nothing is pretence. It flows, as it should, as natural as water, out of today. No striving for exaggerated effect. Even with the Orbit-ing electro-echo and ghost-horn on “Forgiveness Is Cold”, his subtle understated voice and sparse instrumentation tell it all as it should be told.
Featured on website:
(UK – December 2006)
and published in:
‘THE SUPPLEMENT issue 38’ (UK – January 2008)
Album Review of:
‘GET ONBOARD’ by ERIC BIBB
(2008, Telarc Blues CD-83675)
Eric’s ‘Diamond Days’ was my favourite Blues album of 2006, less scuffed-down torn-knees Blues, more discreetly articulate, literate acoustic music grounded firmly in now, balanced by an intelligent respectful acknowledgement of progenitor roots and past masters. Recorded in Nashville, and mixed in Stockholm, this is another meticulously crafted statement, a standout follow-up taking his muse ‘into the place where blues meets gospel and soul’. And because Eric operates from creative rather than commercial imperatives, the album structures an argument for the essential interactivity of the three. The tracks hang together in a coherent fashion, but oddly, the best of them – for the more atheistically inclined, are the ones that eschew the gospel fighting the good-fight as their motivating sentiment.
Sue Williams, Frontier Promotions,
The Grange, Cockley Cley Road, Hillborough,
Thetford, Norfolk IP26 5BT. Tel 01760-756-394
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘ROCK ‘N’ REEL Vol.2 No.10 (July/August)’
(UK – June 2008)