Bob Margolin

Up & In

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AllMusic Review by

Former Muddy Waters sideman and current Blues Revue magazine columnist Bob Margolin brings his encyclopedic knowledge of blues and chops galore with him on this, his third album for Alligator. Ten of the 14 selections are penned by Margolin, with selected covers of material from Bobby Charles, Grady Jackson, Snooky Pryor and Gladys Knight and the Pips rounding out the mix. This time around Margolin stretches his musical boundaries into new directions, adding to his already wide range of blues subgenres. The title track is a solid homage to Chuck Berry, while Grady Jackson's "Coffee Break" is the kind of atmospheric, sax-driven track that would have fit perfectly on any Aladdin blues-after-hours 10-inch album. "Imagination" gets a true soul workout, as does "The Window," with its funky lead fills. His guitar tone can sometimes get positively trashy and as distorted as any old blues 78 you've ever heard, as on "Alien's Blues" and "Blues For Bartenders" while the cleaner side of his playing comes up for air on "'Bout Out," "Not What You Said Last Night," and the jazzy "Long Ago and Far Away." Margolin turns in a dead-on Muddy Waters slide guitar impression in a duet turn with former Waters piano man Pinetop Perkins on "She and the Devil" while turning in fine slide work on "Goin' Back Out on the Road" and "Why Are People Like That?" As a vocalist, Margolin is still in the passable category; he sings in tune, but seldom displays the kind of passion that earmarks the best of his guitar work. Still, this is his best solo turn to date, with solid playing from guests Kaz Kazanoff, Dave Maxwell and a host of others.

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