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CD Review: Eric Bibb's Booker's Guitar



The Deal: Eric Bibb delivers the goods in folky, soulful, gospel style.

The Good: Bibb got the inspiration for Booker's Guitar when one of his fans who owns Delta blues legend Booker White's 1930 National Steel guitar let Bibb play and record with it. White was B.B. King's cousin, famous for his recordings of "Shake 'Em On Down" and "Parchman Farm Blues." Bibb wasn't interested in covering White. Instead, he was inspired by the feel and the spirit of the instrument. He's so moved by the experience that on the title cut he sounds like he's about to break down. Once he's over that, his voice is like a warm blanket wrapping you in comfortable cocoon of sound. Bibb doesn't even need a guitar to cast a spell as he demonstrates on his a cappella take on "Nobody's Fault But Mine," far removed from Led Zeps shrieking bare-chested version. Bibb turns the secular into gospel with "A Good Woman" – "a good woman will be in your corner when there's no other/ she's a believer whose faith in you never dies." His guitar-playing can break your heart and move you to tears, and then his velvety voice soothes your cares so you can smile. It may sound corny, but Bibb pulls it off time after time in person and on record.

The Bad: It's hard to keep coming up with superlatives for Bibb's work. That's a problem many artists would kill for, but Bibb does it every time he comes out.

The Verdict: Expand your shelf space. This one needs to sit front and center.

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