Eric Bibb, Rory Block, Maria Muldaur – Sisters and Brothers

Sisters and Brothers
Sisters and Brothers

I like this one for a couple of reasons. The first is it’s a perfect example of some vets getting together and just making good music. No ego involved, just three people who want to put good songs on tape, and make them sound good. Bibb’s been around since the late ’60s, performing as a solo blues and folk artist. Rory Block is a wonderful singer/guitarist who’s also had a long career. She’s recently been on the upswing, with a couple of excellent albums on the Telarc label. And Maria Muldaur has always been a wonderful singer who can cover a range of styles.

On this, the three run through old songs, new songs, and some in-between. Listeners will recognize a swampy version of Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” that lets Eric show his vocal chops, while the girls sing textbook gospel-tinged backgrounds. Funky acoustic guitar helps guide “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down.” “Maggie Campbell” is one of those 12-string blues tunes that always feel at home, whether recorded in 1935 or 2003. “Good Stuff” has fine finger-picked country blues to go along with a nice, gruff vocal from Eric. There’s lots of fine guitar from Bibb and Block, but my favorite, “Bessie’s Advice,” has very little guitar. Muldaur’s vocal on this one is as good as it gets. Seductive, self-assured, and (pardon the expression) ballsy, it’s a seven-minute gem by Bibb and Muldaur that has the singer talking about advice from Bessie Smith.

If you’re a fan of any of these three as solo artists, or if you just love good, solid music done well, check out this one.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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