- Blues and Rhythm, October 2006
Blues and Rhythm on Diamond Days
Blues and Rhythm, October 2006
Bibb tells us in his short personal sleeve note that, ‘It feels like my best work yet . . .’, and I think I agree with him, for this is a strong, personal, mostly acoustic album, that illustrates what he is really good at – writing strong original material and singing it well.
This is a beautifully crafted set where Bibb has surrounded himself with some talented musicians and singers, who are given masses of space to express themselves – all tastefully produced by Glen Scott, who also adds bass backing on a number of titles. This is not in the real sense a blues set but there is certainly enough blues feel to hold your attention.
The guitar picking by Bibb is clear and bright and is a perfect foil to his distinctive vocals, and it is his vocals that first attracted me to this charismatic performer back in 1992. He has a natural and relaxed vocal style, which can both, be expressive and subtle which sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. All but two of the titles are original compositions and again he illustrates what a fine and often poetic writer that he can be. There are love songs, ballads and songs with a strong message all performed with equal energy and commitment.
Bibb sets up an infectious groove on ‘Destiny Blues’, which has some powerful harp from Jenny Bohman, and the horn arrangement on ‘So Glad’ gives this slow ballad a cutting edge. On Dylan’s ‘Bucket’s Of Rain’ the guitar from Martin Simpson adds tremendous class and again his slide playing on the impressive title song ‘Diamond Days’ is pretty faultless. There is a heartfelt tribute on ‘Still Livin’ On’ to some of Bibb’s blues heroes, including Rev. Gary Davis, Son House and Mississippi John Hurt, and it is the latter’s guitar style that is quite evident in much of Bibb’s own guitar technique.
There are many fine moments on this highly recommended set, with the added bonus of a short video sequence (what next are they going to put on compact discs!), and I would also advise you to go and hear this enthralling performer if he comes your way.