Terry Robb

Resting Place

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Terry Robb is something of a regional legend in the Pacific Northwest, where he has won more than a dozen local awards for his exceptional fingerstyle blues picking. For his sixth album, he made a long pilgrimage -- all the way from the Northwest to the Southeast, where he hunkered down at the Sam Phillips Recording Studio with the even more legendary producer Roland James, known for presiding over some of the greatest sessions of the Sun Records era. Backed by bassist Paul Taylor, pianist Charlie Wood, and drummer Willie Hall, Robb recorded a winning program of originals and well-chosen covers, the latter of which include fine versions of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "My Baby Left Me" and Doc Pomus' "Lonely Avenue." Robb's nimble, tasteful, and incisive acoustic guitar playing is the star of this album: his original instrumentals (especially the strutting "Madison Ave. Shuffle" and the stunningly beautiful "Cassie") are the indisputable highlights of a generally strong program. Unfortunately, his voice is less compelling and is simply not always up to the demands he places on it, especially on "Louise" -- a traditional blues on which Robb's voice is especially thin and weak, but which features one of the most emotionally compelling and technically brilliant solos of the whole album. Blues guitarists should not hesitate to pick this album up, but those whose interest in the genre is more general may want to sample a track or two before committing.

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