Robin Bibi is one of the UK’s top blues/rock guitarists having paid his dues working with such names as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Ben.E.King, The Pretty Things and Helen Shapiro

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Robin Bibi Brilliance Is No More A Secret
2nd November 2016 by Bluesdoodles


Robin Bibi


Brilliance
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 ….

Track Listing

Play
In Too Deep
Packing My Possessions
Christmas Day
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 www.justlistentothis.com



Robin Bibi

No More A  Secret

(Ashwood Music)

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 some selections.

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 Peter Green.

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.

Pete Sargeant

Thanks to Graham Munn for this gig review in the September edition of Blues 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 stunning finish.
Words & Photos Graham Munn


Thanks to John Knighton for this review! www.fatea-records.co.uk

Reviews
Robin Bibi
Album: No More Secrets
Label: Ashwood
Tracks: 9
Website: http://www.robinbibiband.co.uk
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 technique.
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 8.19.
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!
John Knighton




Robin Bibi Band
Bullfrog Blues Dockyard Club
Southsea 

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

www.bluesinbritain.org.uk




Robin Bibi Band Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury


It 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’”.
Staying 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 favourite.
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.

Paul Stiles  oxfordblues.info
robinbibiband.co.uk

rockingtheblues.com/Limelight.htm

The Robin 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 disappointed.


Martin Clarke
(Blues in Britain & presenter on "The Blues Session" on Radio Wey)
ROBIN BIBI
Fast Life Songs
Privately produced
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 album.

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 tells us.

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.

Review Team Elephant Shelf

The 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.

This was followed by a beautiful slow song, ‘Switch Off The Night’, from their black album, in which the powerful harmonies at the end were quite superb.
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.

They opened 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 gorgeous.

Another 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 intricate fretwork.

‘Sweet Home 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.

The general consensus from the crowd that this was the best band there’s ever been in the pub. Were they right? Probably.

Steve Bouckley.

Live Therapy. Robin Bibi Band.
Review By Stephanie Thorburn

A 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 Fleetwood Mac.

The new album was recorded at five venues and is an eclectic mixture of Bibi originals and traditional blues-rock epics. Bearing an uncanny resemblance
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 music
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 pleasers.

Backing Robert 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.

A firm 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.

A thorough 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.

Perhaps the 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 line up.

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.

Trading licks 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.

Perceiving the 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.

Multi-venue 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.

Such album 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.

Voodoo Magazine

The Robin Bibi Band
LIVE THERAPY

Recorded over 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.

Bibi’s quirky 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.

Great though 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 SARGEANT

Blues Matters CD Reviews Issue 17

The Robin Bibi/Leanne Binder at Barnes Bulls Head

George 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.

The evening 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.

Blues Matters

The Robin Bibi Band - Language of Your Soul (BBCD 002)

Surbiton-based 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 emerging.

The promising 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

Blueprint Vol 2 issue 36

Robin 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.

'Cold Shot' 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 first-half closer.

'Language of 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 - Bill Smith

Blueprint Vol 2 issue 21

     
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