TRAVELIN' MAN, originally recorded in 1971, was re-released on CD in 1997. It's an all-solo set, just Roy, his guitar, and a baker's dozen of the old fingerstyle blues gems he spent the 60s collecting. Bookbinder, who learned his chops first hand from Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson, also studied old recordings, and the Blind side of the blues family tree figured heavily in his education--Blind Willie McTell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller are all represented here. The ragtime and songster repertoires of artists like Davis and Anderson (and, consequently, Bookbinder himself) require as much if not more finesse than the Son House/Robert Johnson school, and for anyone who equates country blues with only House and Johnson this branch of the music may come as a revelation.
The guitar settings here--and Bookbinder's vocal delivery--sparkle with an easy-going bounce that shares bloodlines with country pickers like Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. Bookbinder still sounds a little careful on these recordings, but it's a good chance to hear him unaccompanied, picking and singing some of the tunes he continues to perform today.