Bob Margolin / Ann Rabson

Not Alone

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Rabson continues to forge her own unique path in the blues world with Not Alone, an album that features the guitar work and vocals of another low-key blues legend, Bob Margolin. It's not exactly an album of duets -- Rabson sings most of the leads and her piano playing is featured throughout -- but it's not entirely a solo effort, either, since Margolin only performs solo on a couple of tracks. What is clear is that both players are having a ball and their energy and good humor are infectious. The album is a delight from start to finish. Except for Margolin's "Let It Go" -- a bluesy rhumba marked by Rabson's rippling piano arpeggios and lyrics delivered in a wry drawl that bring to mind the philosophical ruminations of Mose Allison -- the tunes here are mostly familiar covers. Rabson reinvents the material with her surprising arrangements and on-the-money vocals. "Let's Go Get Stoned," the Ashford & Simpson tune made popular by Ray Charles, gets a downtempo treatment that celebrates excess with a gospel-flavored arrangement. Rabson delivers the Rev. Thomas Dorsey standard "I'm Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song" with a wry approach that manages to sound both spiritual and carnal, especially when she sings: "I can't say one thing and then do another, be a saint by day and a devil under covers." A boogie-woogie cover of Louis Jordan's "Caledonia" features Margolin's smooth, laid-back guitar work supporting Rabson's excellent piano work, while her ragtime reading of Hudson Whitaker's almost obscene "Let's Get Drunk and Truck" is a pure delight.

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