Rob Blaine

Big Otis Blues
Swississippi Records
Rob Blaine

The liner notes for this are on-target when they say Rob Blaine yanks “big chunks” of music from his guitar. But that’s not the whole story. Yes, he can channel Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix and, stomping on his wah pedal (“Not The Forgiving Kind”) he can even pull in the spirit of the underrated Ernie Isley. But Blaine can play it sweet and soulful, too. The Memphis-styled R&B of “Only Mine” and the Leslie-West-cum-Paul-Kossoff heaviness of “Affection and Pain” showcase his versatility as a player and writer, with the latter bringing back the spirit of the best of ’70s power-trio blues-rock.

A very good if not great vocalist, Blaine is also effective on the near-gospel slow blues of Don Nix’s “Same Old Blues.” And, showing he’s not one to let his ego get in the way of the big picture, he let’s Nigel Mack and his National steel take the spotlight on the instrumental “Gone, Not Forgot” which bears a precariously close (but forgivable) resemblance to Rod Stewart’s “Mandolin Wind.”

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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