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Robin Bibi Brilliance Is No More A Secret
2nd November 2016 by Bluesdoodles
Is No More A Secret !
For anyone who has heard Robin Bibi play his guitar it has never been a
secret he plays with blues feel and tone that captures your ears and
locks you into his sound. Now with a studio album of nine
delicious blues treats it is definitely No More A Secret. The lid is
truly off this box of musical chocolates full of tasty licks,
mesmerizing riffs and vocals that spiral around the lyrics. His blues
is fulsome, at times understated, and then we get a blast of blues that
sing to your soul. Opening with Play, we have that flavour of a
caramel with sweetness of blues that chugs along and the feet
automatically joins in with the rhythm section that makes the track a
fully rounded sound. The opening guitar phrases of
Packing My Possessions are full of fruity sharpness curbed by the
sugaring of the drumming the intro has a purity of tone. The vocal
phrasing is full of emotional hurt and confusion, the playing is full
of warmth and colours and the horns like on other tracks add a textural
shape that hits the mark. Drumming opens Fast Lanes Busy with a
swirl of horns picking up the tempo and into the mix enters Robin who
takes control of this fast track with hints of funk that gets your
musical adrenalin going. This is an album that exudes
authenticity and the homage, ((drowning In) Muddy Waters) is clever.
The guitar sings the essence of the Waters sound and blues is pure and
sharp. The title track sings with horns full of soulful sunshine and
the guitar picking up the groove is definitely a nut crunch in the
blues box of chocolates that Robin has collected together so nothing is
a secret anymore! Closing this nine track gem with No Label on
Me, a real deep groove-laden number providing a great finish, if this
was a box of chocolates would be full of complex taste with a generous
dash of liquor. While we are talking about the tracks there is even one
for Christmas Day as a faster number that is definitely a red-hot
chocolate spiced up with a hint of chili as hope for a good day
is mused over. Robin Bibi is his own man of the blues not a clone
but a free man with his own music to make you sit up and listen.
Everything on No More a Secret demands close listening to the lyrics,
the guitar and musicianship but above all sit back and let Robin’s
Blues flow through your very being. The title encapsulates it
perfectly. With the recording of the album Mr Robin Bibi, an extremely
talented and definitely underrated bluesman on the British Blues
circuit today, combines a superb guitar sound with bluesy vocals and
songwriting skills that capture the heart of blues.
On the sleeve notes Robin Bibi says it’s been a long, long time coming.
Now it is here we can hear the delights of Robin and his bands everyday
not just when his music comes to town. In the meantime we have the
album to enjoy the delicious box of blues Robin had put together. It
definitely is No More A Secret!
Robin Bibi – No More A Secret – Plastic Head Distribution
NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
In Too Deep
Packing My Possessions
Fast Lanes Busy
Get In It!
(Drowning In) Muddy Waters
No More A Secret
No Label On Me
THANKS TO PETE SARGEANT for this great rteview on
No More A Secret
I am not in any way neutral about this chap – he has been a friend and
fellow musician for many years and if Rob and I are in the same room we
usually end up making music together on whatever instruments are
around. In our neck of the woods and due to years of gigging, recording
and even teaching, Bibi remains a key figure and especially on the live
performance scene. Every show he does is different and I have seen him
play the same song in different modes, keys and tempos on acoustic and
electric instruments. His rich and seasoned voice is a help and the
fact that he aims to entertain with his music rather than just curate
old songs the way you have heard them done hundreds of times by others.
So what is the maestro up to on this this new set? Longtime bassist and
fine singer Tony Marten is aboard plus sticksman Craig Bacon. This
simply means it’s going to sound great. The Blackjack Horns spice up
Songwise this is all the work of Robin and from the intense chug of
Play! and it’s rich slide runs it becomes apparent that Bibi can create
from roots in rock’n’roll and blues, especially SRV..then he throws in
a bridge that could be Fairport Convention!
In Too Deep is typical Bibi in that it is unpredictable, the sweet
harmonics and arpeggio chording make you wonder where he is going. The
lyric is one of bewilderment and the vocal performance one of the best
here. The blues soaks through Packing My Possessions, a song about
moving on in all senses. Roots musicians tend to get knocked down every
now and again BUT get up again and fall back on the things nobody can
take them from..basically any talent they have attained or developed.
The guitar solo is lyrical and the horns breathe a grained weariness
throughout the cut. It’s just one of the areas of music that Bibi
excels in and that he would modesty put down to his very early love of
Christmas Day is entirely different in mood and execution, it is a kind
of electric folk song and the lyrics could be Rodney Crowell or John
Prine. Very cool vocals here all round; Fast Lanes Busy nods to Jimi
and to these ears has a very ‘London’ sound, with the horns high and
crisp. Radio programmers will go for this one, I reckon. Get In It ! is
tricky funk and the closest here to the style of the great Johnny
Guitar Watson, another fine entertainer. Muddy Waters has a mood all of
its own and a short delay on the chording which makes it rather
haunting, the guitar biting and clear. No More A Secret is a
springheeled and horn-infused modern soul item with another great
vocal, again radio-friendly and punchy. No Label On Me has a thick
guitar sound and emphatic lyric, pure Bibi as he is right now and the
band right on the money. A song Whitesnake fans may dig !
A working musician and moreover creator not playing safe, except in his
choice of playing companions, who should share any plaudits that come
the way of this release.
Thanks to Graham Munn for this gig review in the September edition of
In Britain Magazine !
If you cared to look behind that Old Bush, on this particular Sunday,
you would have found a bird singing away, feeding off the surrounding
tables. We are not of course talking of a red plumaged garden
favourite, this one comes with a distinctly blue tinge and answers to
the call of Robin Bibi. Many of you will already have heard Robin
perform, but for me, it was the first time, and I thank Matt Williams
at The Old Bush, for messaging me to come over. The garden, on a
comfortable summers day, was the ideal setting for Robin Bibi to roam
and entertain, with the freedom afforded by wireless connectivity for
his Strat. How long a lead would he have needed, wired to his battered
amp, in past gigs, does bare thought, especially when climbing over,
and jumping off tables.
Robin was supported by a funky drum and bass combo, in the form of John
Steel and Mathew ‘Mr Angry from Purley’ Saunders. Labelled by Robin, it
will probably stick! ‘Play’, seemed a good idea, and that’s exactly how
Robin warmed up, letting his fingers do the walking, through this album
track. Despite the garden setting, Robin decided, ‘The Sun Has To
Stop’, allowing the bass and drum to shine through insread.
Naturally, there was plenty from the new, highly acclaimed album, ‘No
More A Secret’, ‘In Too Deep’, being one, a soulful blues full of six
string interrogation that stretched and embellished the recorded
version. Robin pulled out his harp, to blow us into the early hours of
BB Kings, ‘4 o’clock In the Morning’, before going off on another
exploration of his work, the full on rock of, ‘Fast Lane Busy’. Maybe
an excursion onto the M25, with seemingly endless commute that found
Robin roaming the garden changing lanes, and going for a storming rock
god finish, a pull in to the services, time to refuel.
The unmistakeable sounds of an ‘Albatross’, floated into the bar, as I
carried a small beer (it was still early) back to the garden, the
pulsating bass and constant soft beat of the drum carried this bird
into a psychedelic, coloured sky, for a flight of fancy. We hovered in
Peter Green’s world to ride his ‘Long Grey Mare’, a superb gallop
through this classic that saw Robin atop a shaky table, guitar behind
head, before leaping down to cantor back to the band.
More funky base from Mr Angry, as Robin dived into the rippling, dark,
‘Muddy Waters’ from his album, but this was Sunday, and you can’t have
a Sunday without some gospel, that finds its way into our soul. The
band have time to contemplate, as Robin opens ‘Down In The Valley’,
acapella, taking us deep into the spiritual core of the song before the
band and his guitar lift us up to a full on rock crescendo. If this had
been all I heard, I would have been very happy, but there was more to
come, Slap bass shuffled the pack, No More A Secret revealed just how,
‘If You Want To Win It’, but time was pressing and a big finish was
inevitable, Robin Bibi introduced ‘Little Annie Brown’ full of fabulous
riffs, with elements of Hendrix, Peter Green, and maybe Stevie Ray,
those fingers that had limbered up 2 hours earlier, had walked us to a
Words & Photos Graham Munn
Thanks to John Knighton for this review! www.fatea-records.co.uk
Album: No More Secrets
Robin Bibi is hoping his move to Ashwood Music is the start of better
things. In his album notes he says it's been a long road with "many
stages, many places, many faces" but now he's released his first album
under the Ashwood banner.
And on this evidence, it's a smart move. This is an unashamed
blues/rock album but it is put together with a lot of skill and
Listen to the guitar on Muddy Waters and you will discover that Robin
is no slouch when it comes to finding his way around a fretboard.
There is so much to enjoy here. The opening track, Play, leaps out the
traps and I loved the tone on Robin's slide guitar, just this side of
dirty. In Too Deep is more soulful, with atmospheric guitar fills.
The album was recorded with Tony Marten on bass guitar and vocals and
Craig Bacon on drums/percussion and they do an excellent job.
The Blackjack Horns - Gary Barnacle, Nik Carter and Jack Birchwood -
make their first appearance on the third track, Packing My Possessions,
a slow-burning blues. They fill the sound perfectly with their tight
arrangements. However I just felt this track was too long, coming in at
Christmas Day follows a tried and trusted formula with its stop rhythms
but it's nevertheless very enjoyable.
There's plenty of hard-rocking guitar to listen to on this album - Fast
Lanes Busy is just bursting with great guitar. For a chance of pace,
Get In It, has a funky beat but it's back to blues with Muddy Waters, a
lovely atmospheric track, with great percussion.
The title track is an unashamed 12-bar rocker with great horns. It is
probably the most commercial-sounding track on the entire album. The
album wraps up with Robin playing his heart out on No Label On Me,
another rocking number.
If you love really good blues/rock look no further than Robin Bibi -
he's no longer a secret!
Bullfrog Blues Dockyard Club
Robin is a regular and welcome visitor to
Southsea and best known for his splendid
acoustic gigs. Highly regarded as a musician’s
musician - hardworking and seemingly ubiqui-
tous - he is sometimes underrated. Tonight we
had the privilege to witness the full breadth of
his virtuosity in a band setting.
The diminutive front-man with the outsize
talent, ably supported by Craig Bacon, drums,
and Matt Beable on bass, wound up with a
long intro to a piece inspired by divorce before
setting out his stall on a BB King tribute, play-
ing harp, and then standing on a table in the
midst of the enthralled audience playing the
guitar behind his back. Following a tremen-
dous ‘Couldn’t Stand the Weather’, he showed
his creative juices were still lowing with two
impressive new songs that stood up well
against his very individual take on some classic
covers. ‘In Too Deep’ was slower paced with a
melodic hook and catchy lyric, and ‘Play’ built
atmospherically into a pin drop solo through
the crowd culminating in the use of a beer keg
for sound effect.
His lengthy soloing was always luent, taste-
ful and melodic, retaining the interest without
narcissistic excess. The second half featured
an inventive souped up orchestration of
‘Albatross’, and a ine ‘Green Manalishi’ before
a tour de force, ‘Long Grey Mare’, with impres-
sive solo vignettes from his sidemen, who
provided a terriic base for Robin’s virtuos-
ity. ‘Switch off the Night’ had a lovely a capella
vocal climax before ‘What Can I Do to Make
You Stay’ was greeted by ‘pay for the beer!’ by
a materialistic member of the audience.
A rousing ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ in-
ished a superb night with the dancers among
us set loose at last. This was a special night and
testament to Robin’s immense skill and musical
feel combined with accomplished showman-
ship, and the down to earth approachability of
this oft unheralded talent.
Bob Chaffey Blues in Britain issue 148
Bibi Band Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury
was a very hot night in Aylesbury and even hotter inside the Limelight
Theatre, and true to form we Brits were complaining about the weather,
which tied in nicely with the sub-title of the evening’s entertainment
– “A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s (SRV) album “Couldn’t Stand The
Weather” – now twenty-six years old.
With virtually standing room
only in the Theatre, the band took to the stage with some great SRV
licks and were introduced as: Matt Beable, bass and backing vocals
together with deft selecting fingers when it came to picking out my
raffle ticket, Jon Tonks, drums, and of course Robin Bibi, guitar,
harmonica and vocals.
Although primarily celebrating the
“…Weather” album it did not preclude the band covering some songs from
“Texas Flood” and “In Step”, so they moved easily into “Testify” which
led straight onto “Couldn’t Stand The Weather” complete with very tight
and succinct breaks. The beat and mood was nice and slow for “The
Things (That) I Used To Do”. They did one of their own compositions,
“Royal Sonesta Stomp” albeit in an SRV fashion, which was written while
in New Orleans and this, segued into “Scuttle Buttin’”.
with the “….Weather” album they did the slow and moody “Tin Pan Alley”
and to end the first set it was a return to the “Texas Flood” album for
“Pride & Joy”. With my fist full of CD’s won in the raffle (thanks
Matt), we were all set for the second half of the evening. The band
slipped into the very gentle instrumental track called “Lenny” and then
ripped into “Let Me Love You Baby“. Time for a short and sweet rock “n“
roller in the form of “Love Struck Baby”.
The beat went funky for
“Tightrope” from the SRV’s “In Step” album. In keeping with the
changing tempo it was back to one of their own tracks from the band’s
latest album “Switch On The Live” – the gospel flavoured “Down In The
Valley”. They closed with “Crossfire” and as the band was introduced,
each member did a solo, making the song run to thirteen minutes, the
audience loved it! and to rapturous applause brought them back for an
encore of “Annie Brown” again a band composition and a concert
So to conclude, a great evening of music in a
tremendous atmosphere, from top class musicians, who really brought out
the sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is a hard working band and when
not out on a gig, Robin can be found running Jam sessions and
workshops. More great music in the months ahead at the Limelight, so
check the gig guide and I’ll see you there.
Bibi Band @ The Star in Ewell
I’m never disappointed when I go and see Robin Bibi perform as I know
that I’m in for an evening of entertainment, but this trip was also an
opportunity to check out a recently revamped music venue. The Star Pub
in Ewell , Surrey has undergone some remarkable changes thanks to the
guiding hand of Steven Moss, the new Landlord. I took the opportunity
to talk to Steven between sets and he clearly has a passion for live
music and the future lineup of acts is impressive.
But back to the music and a great performance form Robin as he rattled
off some Bibi penned favorites in the first set such as “Love don’t
mean a thing”, “Semester Stomp”, “Little Annie Brown” and “Under Your
Spell”. Not only is Robin a great musician and song writer, he is also
a great showman who looks at all opportunities to entertain the crowd.
During the first set Robin headed out into the audience courtesy of his
radio guitar gizmo and started playing on chairs and tables while at
all times keeping perfect sync with the band. Robin then headed out of
the front door into Cheam Road where he continued to play; fortunately
there was no traffic around. A quick photo opportunity under a shop
sign ‘Bourne Beautiful’ and back into the pub.
By this stage I was grinning so much my face started to ache so the
break between sets was a welcome relief while my smile muscles had a
chance to relax.
The second set was even better than the first with Tony Martin on Bass
singing the Lennon song “Don’t let me down” followed by “Down in the
valley”; a superb cover of “Grey Mare”, SRV’s “Pride and Joy”, Freddie
King’s “Tore Down” and Brian Holmes “Switch off the night”.
Great music, great venue and great entertainment. If you have a chance
to see Robin Bibi play live, take up the opportunity, you won’t be
(Blues in Britain & presenter on "The Blues Session" on Radio Wey)
Fast Life Songs
Genre – acoustic blues influenced music
Star Rating 9/10
This album has
been out for several years – but its new to us and it sounds totally
fresh– it is that good that we thought that we’d tell you about, it
really does warrant being known and heard.
Robin Bibi is a well established name, perhaps not as well-known as he
deserves to be, but he has a reputation for excellence, both as a
guitarist and as a singer. As an electric guitar player he can do SRV
better than almost anyone – but we know that he can do a lot more than
that – soul, funk, jazz, swing and the young man has a really good
voice as well. On this album of mainly original acoustic tracks he
doesn’t do SRV, he does Robin Bibi, and he produces something that
should be required listening for the young guitar led trios that are
popping up– it’s the perfect balance of well written songs / immaculate
guitar and vocals. It is full of variety but there is also an extra
depth to much of the album – some of the songs seem very personal and
there is an underlying sense of seeking rest and solace in spiritual
things. The metaphor of the chalice and well as the closing track seems
significant – both are biblical metaphors for the Holy Spirit – whether
we surmise correctly or not this ensures a gently optimistic tone to
The opening track is a Bibi live staple; it’s his own, dare we say it,
‘Bo Diddley influenced’ version of the Gospel song ‘Down in the Valley
to Pray’. We also detected a touch of Diddley in track 2 ‘Annie Brown’.
The following ‘Love Don’t Mean a Thing’ is an exemplary piece of
acoustic blues. ‘Never Fade Away’ track 4, is an album highlight - a
Jazz tinged shuffle type groove with a distinctive bass riff – a lovely
soulful vocal – ‘the blues is always there – everywhere you go’ he
Robin has obviously listened to it all – it shows on track 5 where we
hear touches of classic country and rockabilly guitar styles and the
song, ‘Down to the Harbor,’ is a corker. The instrumental ‘ Willows Way
’ is exquisite – an elegiac Martin Simpson flavoured instrumental
melody – a beautiful track and surely ripe for a film soundtrack
somewhere. That’s followed by a Skip James style guitar intro for a
slide led blues – ‘I had a good friend, steady rolling guy’ nice line
that – but this guy went wrong got involved with a lass and it turned
out he had drink from the Devil’s cup – oh dear…
Track 8 ‘Woman I’m Under Your Spell’ has a superb vocal and some of the
finest guitar on the album – it’s a moody minor key song full of
lightning fast guitar runs. It’s followed by a very nice version of
John Lee Hooker’s ‘Sugar Mama’ which leads in turn to the outstanding
song ‘Babies Eyes’. This is a heart rending tale of family break-up and
is vividly performed so that we suspect the song is about personal
experience – and it centers strongly on the innocents in such a
break-up as he writes of the ‘tears in our babies’ eyes’. The song is
modeled on a ‘Parisian Walkways’ type structure but this is no Gary
Moore copy, its original, and underlying the lyric is a subtle
intimation of the strength and faith required to come through such a
break-up; superb and very, very authentic,
We can’t surmise for certain, though we suspect, that the song ‘Big
Trouble’ may have been written in the aftermath of what is described in
‘Babies’ Eyes’, it’s a much simpler lyric and someone has done just
that, got in big trouble, and in the song there doesn’t seem to be too
much the writer can do about it.
Throughout the album Robin is accompanied by Martin York on bass and on
drum loops while Susan York adds accordion on one track. However, the
closing track is another solo instrumental; Bibi’s own tune ‘Chalice
Well’ – it is a gentle, reflective and quietly uplifting end to a
really good piece of work. Robin Bibi – please give us some more – but
on the meantime let the people hear this.
Robin Bibi Band at the Captain Nelson Tavern
First time in
the pub for this three-piece band, led by a black be-hatted Robin Bibi.
They set off producing a fat meaty sound, with heavy bass notes and a
powerful lead guitar sound.
‘Long Grey Mare’ was a boppin’ 12 bar tune that rocked on at a cracking
pace, it featured excellent solos by both Robin on lead and Tony
‘Badboy’ Marten on bass.
Royal Sonesta Stomp, named after a Nawlins hotel, had a riff with a
million notes in it and included a quick burst of ‘Day Tripper’. Does
that still qualify as being one of his own compositions? It matters
not; it’s all good stuff.
followed by a beautiful slow song, ‘Switch Off The Night’, from their
black album, in which the powerful harmonies at the end were quite
To ramp things back up a bit, we were going to get a bit of Hendrix,
but someone shouted out for some SRV, so we got ‘Pride and Joy’,
instead. No worries though, there was plenty of Hendrix still to come.
This track featured Robin doing a Chuck Berry style strut down the
middle of the pub with one leg hooked over the neck of his strat,
before he jumped up on the back of the seats and leapt back onto the
stage! Not a bad way to end the set.
back up with ‘Language of your Soul’, another of Robin’s own songs.
This one had a throbbing, pulsating bass and a very tight finish. Tony
continued in the spotlight, exercising his tonsils full bore with the
Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, exciting stuff. Hendrix’s ‘Fire’ got a
good going over and showed us the delights of seven foot tall drummer
Joachim ‘Jimmy’ Greaves’ double beater action, well rapid stuff.
‘Castles In The Air’ followed and was beautifully played and truly
self-penned tune ‘Vampire Blues’ maintained the slow tempo for a while,
a smooth mellow number with loads of echo effect. Ramping smartly back
up ‘Tore Down’ had Robin on the harmonica and Tony on the vocal duties
once again. One of Robin’s major influences, Peter Green, got an
accolade with ‘Shake Your Money Maker’, but this version had twice as
many notes in it and had Robin up on the tables again. We then got the
longest and bestest bass guitar solo we’ve ever seen in the pub, very
classy indeed. Joachim didn’t get left out either with a solo spot, and
both pieces earned huge ovations from the crowd.
Still on the Fleetwood Mac theme, ‘Oh Well’ merged nicely into a few
bars and a chorus of ‘Batman’, but ‘Black magic Woman’ was played more
in Santana style, only funkier, with loads of wah-wah pedal and
Alabama’ was the encore, with a full house singing the choruses, but
that wasn’t enough for us and we clamoured for more. We were rewarded
with ‘Mojo Working’, only nothing like we’ve had before, even though it
was played rapidly, they got it to go even faster and that was with
twice as many notes as usual. Brilliant finger pickin’ stuff.
consensus from the crowd that this was the best band there’s ever been
in the pub. Were they right? Probably.
Therapy. Robin Bibi Band.
Review By Stephanie Thorburn
distinguished musical ensemble and pedigree mark out The Robin Bibi
band, who grace the now slightly troubled haunts of Londons traditional
intimate music venues. Live Therapy is a comprehensive album born of
Robin’s preoccupation for reproducing accurate delivery of classics
from the cult tripos of Hendrix, The Beatles and much-revered early
The new album
was recorded at five venues and is an eclectic mixture of Bibi
originals and traditional blues-rock epics. Bearing an uncanny
to a live incarnation of John Mizarolli’s band Axe Phenomenon (Voodoo
Issue 19), Robin is apparently not fully aware of this, nor according
to some blues press reviewers, the fact that all in sundry have been
overworking these sublime standard tracks since the advent of the pub
scene. A little dismissive I suspect. Mr. Bibi has in fact an
aficionados biography together with a considerable dues paying process
behind him to mediate his understanding and selection of repertoire
Plant, Jimmy Page, Ben E King and Helen Shapiro on guitar has made him
a highly seasoned professional, whilst also being a popular performer,
his enduring CV had not always been fully acknowledged by the cynics.
Since the Bibi
band formed in 1996, there has been a solid output of considerable
merit comprising of two albums of hand penned material by Robin and his
fine but sadly deceased colleague Brian Holmes, who wrote the seminal A
Tribute To Fast. Bibis fluent songwriting skills are equally finely
tuned on the intuitively titled album Language Of Your Soul, whilst his
personal back catalogue is executed synonymously with some truly
coherent covers’ and crowd pleasers on the new live double CD. Jon
Bankes, Hans Ferrao and Tony Marten provide a notably sophisticated
rhythm section, together with some entertaining humour and a suitably
impressive bass line by Bankes on Oh Well.
It was as they
say, an honest musical revelation to have the opportunity of a concrete
discussion with Robin about his musical persuasions, song writing and
distinguished CV when I recently interviewed him for Voodoo.
foundation cast into blues, Robin cites Peter Green as his first
formative influence, and a focal point from which we might appreciate
the ability of a musician who expresses with a single note what others
struggle to achieve in a dozen. The BB Band are indeed therefore a
little top heavy on Mac, but all that is set to change with the
expansion of Robins song writing towards a new original album in the
near future. Such satisfying phrases as, from the heart and full on are
fundamental beliefs in his approach to song writing as a spontaneous
craft. As he speaks, Robin evokes a visual terrain which transports us
from the present to the escapism of the Missisippi Delta, where fish
fries and juke joints form the basis of his spiritual retreat and an
atmosphere of fun and catharsis that Mr Bibi tries to capture in his
own authentic performances.
commitment to artistic fusion, as his back catalogue implies, there are
no simple pale reproductions of connoisseur’s heroes such as the
Fabulous Thunderbirds in sight. In future we can instead anticipate a
clean improvised repertoire drawn from jazz, blues, country and rock
& roll offerings.
most fascinating aspect of the interview was my interjections to probe
Robins experiences of playing gigs with the great and good. In return I
received a series of wonderfully graphic and gritty anecdotes from
Ibiza to the punk culture of London’s Electric Ballroom, where his most
stark memory was fleeing the stage in company of agent provocateur
Auntie Pus! Indeed the 1980’s were probably the most fruitful period
for Robin Bibi when he found himself part of the Pretty Things regular
It was at this
time that he performed three dream gigs with Page and Plant as their
backing band. With a degree of pride, Robin recounted for me these
truly priceless moments: - "He may not remember, but I certainly do. It
was full on with Page, he was great from the moment the lights went on,
he broke a string, so I gave him my guitar to carry on…and Robert
Plant, he was just a great straight down the line person". Ben E King
was also remembered from this time with affection as a fun cabaret,
nice cool and polite influence.
with the likes of Jimmy Page is certainly a career highlight to be
savoured, although Robin admits he would like to be more selective
about the sheer quantity of small venues jams which he plays in the UK,
having now fulfilled a comprehensive dues paying process.
London scene as currently chugging along, Robin agrees that the very
fabric of such traditional pubs and clubs is currently subject to some
frustrating challenges. Doubtless, there is a presence of real talent
in form of artists such as sixteen year old guitar prodigy Andy Cortes,
and Jack Bruces son Malcolm. After a point however, playing out seems
to hold less appeal to high calibre musicians on the London circuit.
promoter Pete Feenstra is the first to put Robins observation in
context, insisting that we now exist at a time where new musical talent
in the UK has not demised, but has actually improved and got better and
better. The venues which once supported the likes of Yardbirds,
Clapton, Beck and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, are now ironically
facing a crises in confidence through a series of factors which
Feenstra cites including recent changes to licensing laws, a lack of
record company investment, lack of radio play or consistent engagement
from a broad sector of the press.
treats as Robin Bibi’s current CD, Live Therapy must therefore be
cherished in providing us with a record of our live musical heritage
from an expert hand. Just say the words Django Reinhardt, Joe Satriani
and Robert Johnson to Robin Bibi and you will receive a little bit more
than faint acknowledgement, rather a sophisticated integration of
forms, together with Bibis very own breed of Vampire Blues, (Track 9-
CD Two.).- Copyright Stephanie Thorburn 2003.
Robin Bibi Band
five clearly stonking live gigs, this set allows Robin to put out
definitive versions of many stage favourites. As a man who can even
breathe life into ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ (!!) this is no bad thing.
Many of the selections are obvious crowd-pleasers eg ‘Fire’, ‘Little
Wing’, ‘Come Together’ etc BUT Robin always manages to put his own
twist on even familiar songs. Here his bassmen Jon T Bankes and Tony
Marten pump pure energy into the numbers and even sing the odd song
here and there, Bibi not being of the M. Hucknall persuasion, with
strict instructions to the spotlight man. Drummers Paul Robinson and
Hans Ferrao put power aplenty behind most of the tracks but are equally
capable of laying back on and around the beat as the occasion demands.
style and many influences mean that at any moment he can lope off into
Marley territory mid-song or swing into double-time. Because several of
the choices here are as Robin will concede in the ‘Done To Death’
variety I am drawn to his own compositions and/or arrangements as
displayed on ‘Sonesta Stomp’ a fire-spittin’ instrumental and ‘Language
Of Your Soul’, also ‘Never Fade Away’.
There are some
guests and these include Chicago influenced harpman Dave Raphael and
Saiichi Sugiyama the Far East guitar maestro.
these live souvenirs are, my personal preference within the Bibi canon
is his fantastic set of the late B T Holmes’ songs put together on the
separate studio release ‘Tribute To Fast Vol.1’ which is
blues-influenced rather than the straight stuff and in my book all the
better for it. Gigs showcasing this album have been high-octane but
also reflective and the album has many highlights which embrace a paean
to Tim Hardin and the funky driving ‘Shunting On The NightShift’ which
we have promised I will play with him onstage sometime in the future.
These songs have a vivid, touching quality to them and are rocked up
and dispatched with consummate skill and variety..respect!! - PETE
Matters CD Reviews Issue 17
Robin Bibi/Leanne Binder at Barnes Bulls Head
McFall's Monday night gigs at the Bulls Head by the River Thames
continue to feature fine bills of fare for the discerning lovers of
live music, not least on the regular 'Roadhouse' nights held monthly
and run by that band's Gary Boner, as enthusiastic player, singer and
host as you will find in our neck of the woods. The room is kind to
roots players, hence its enduring popularity with the jazz fraternity
and now us BluesRock herberts.
Who better to
go and see on a wet Monday evening than hardworking and hardrockin'
Surrey bluesman Robin Bibi?. I say bluesman but Robin is a versatile
player. So much so that he has just done a series of dates with Sixties
pop singer Helen Shapiro, who is about to give up the road for a more
settled lifestyle; Shapiro has over the years embraced more jazz blues
and gospel flavours into her music to complement the mainstream early
hits and from talking to Robin, he has enjoyed himself but other
commitments and travelling have left him by the time of this show a
little 'ragged' lets say, in that he's happy to play but markedly
looser in his approach. Which turns out to be a plus as his musicality
is intact and his band is on great form but during this performance
there are some intriguing excursions into his own and others' material.
'Oh Well' has some funny stops and banter between blazing instrumental
runs; a Hendrixy jams segues into a smokin' 'Black Magic Woman'. His
own 'Vampire Blues' is at once spooky and strangely warming, Bibi
playing around with octave runs that feel their way into your
attention. I've seen him play this song several times and it's always a
little different from last. Guest keyboard is Rob from Andy Cortes'crew
and others on Hammond and he is a self-effacing player who comps with
the best of them and keeps solo's brief and colourful. Portuguese (!!)
drummer Hans Ferrao is a revelation in timing and dynamics, pretty
vital to this act holding together given Bibi's inclination to explore
every tone of his white Strat and slip in slide passage entirely when
the mood takes him. Bassist Tony Marten is a rocking player and a good
singer. These two have a Double Trouble touch to their playing and
easily allow for Rob's contributions. Bibi plans to release two albums
in the near future - one live and the other a round up of a departed
friend's treasure trove of songs. I expect he will explain the project
in the liner notes but it clearly means a lot to him.
ends with Bibi and crew and supporting stars bursting their way through
'Pride and Joy' with plenty of guitar-sparring along the way. As a
night out in a friendly venue this is hard to beat - Pete Sargeant.
Robin Bibi Band - Language of Your Soul (BBCD 002)
guitarist and singer Robin Bibi is following what seems to be becoming
a trend in British Blues. i.e delivering a second album that builds on
the promise of the debut. For while Bibi's debut, Blue Thrash
Therapy, was considered cover-heavy and derivative in the review
in Blueprint V2/iss.10, this set sees Robin's song-writing talent
instrumental openeer "Sonesta Stomp" (Bibi) leads us into well over an
hour's worth of rocking good blues-rock. There is, thankfully, a lack
of over abundance of guitar-hero notation. Robin covers most of the
vocal work with Hans Ferrao (drums) and Tony Marten (bass) both taking
a turn on one number each. Robin also features on harp during "Born On
The Horn" (Holmes) and the closer "Chilly Wind Blues" (Bibi), a
lazy-paced retro piece. Tim Hain guests on the live, co-written (with
Bibi) "Hey Mr Bibi (I Wanna Hat Just Like That)".
There is an
interesting departure on the two-before-last trackswhere Robin explores
areas of fusion. "You Couldn't've Thought I Loved You" (Ferrao) has
elements of soul with Stewart Curtis guesting on sax. "Jelly Out"
(Lowenthal/Spevock/York) is an excellent and obscure no-drinks-party
funk-fusion piece. Rating 7 - Frank Franklin
Bibi Band - B Bs Blues Club, Merton
Robin Bibi is
a popular performer at B B's and as a local band, always attracts a
good following. The audience were younger than is usual and nearly half
of them were women. Robin's guitar, vocal and occasional harmonica are
joined by Tony 'Bad Boy' Marten on bass and Ed Spevock on drums.
and 'Tightrope' unashamedly showed the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughn
and raised and lowered the heat for effect. There were also hints of B
B King and Jimi Hendrix in the soloing. On two Peter Green/Mac numbers,
'Oh Well' and 'Black Magic Woman', the band played with energy and a
great sense of fun, the drummer using two cowbells! Robin used plenty
of vibrato and lots of fretboard gymnastics, even playing one sequence
with his teeth! 'Vampire Blues', a slow number with bags of atmosphere
was well supported by the backbone, and a consummate piece of
entertainment. The instrumental 'Surfin' made a fast and raunchy
Your Soul', a fast rock blues with Hendrix overtones, opened the second
set. Tony took over vocals for 'Sometimes Bad is Bad', with Robin on
slide, while 'Little Wing' was played on Robin's own terms. 'Crossroads
was given a rock blues treatment totally different to Cream's, with a
great reggae passage at the end. 'Pride and Joy' and the encore 'Mojo
Working' ended a stunning performance that left people wanting more -