The prolific Mr. Bibb wanted his new disc to open our minds to the plight of migrants everywhere, whether refugees of today or former sharecroppers leaving Clarksdale for Chicago. Helping out on this timely and worthy disc are our own Michael Jerome Browne and JJ Milteau, on harmonica, along with a couple of guests. “Refugee Moan” opens, a very effective preamble pointing out how important leaving home has suddenly become. MJB accompanies on his fretless gourd banjo. “Delta Getaway” retells a conversation Bibb had with one of the many who went from Clarksdale to Chicago. It isn’t strictly a blues but “Diego’s Blues” is, as he relates the story of a Mexican field hand who took the place of the departed in the Delta. “Prayin’ For Shore” pays tribute to the refugees desperate to escape their war-torn homes that didn’t make it. Big Daddy Wilson guests on backing vocals. The title song, somewhat unusually, is an instrumental, with Bibb playing the resonator guitar on the cover, MJB on 12-string slide & JJ on harmonica. Bibb writes that ‘it’s got that sacred geometry thing that goes straight to my heartzone.’ “Four Days, No Rain” was introduced on MJB’s last CD, written with his partner B.A. Markus. Its lyric about famine & drought make it rather more appropriate here and it gets a fine vocal from Mr. Bibb. “We Had To Move” was inspired by the childhood of James Brown. Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War,” naming the people who create all those refugees, is a brilliant idea. MJB’s gourd banjo and JJ’s atmospheric harp help immensely in this understated but powerful performance. MJB & JJ on fiddle and chromatic harmonica salute the Acadian exiles with “La Vie C’est Comme Un Oignon.” “With a Dolla’ In My Pocket” has Bibb writing an early country blues that didn’t have to pull any punches, our narrator would run rather than be lynched. “This Land Is Your Land,” in its original version, reinforces the inclusiveness Woody Guthrie intended. MJB and Bibb duet on a new MJB/B.B. Markus song, “Blacktop,” a stunning new one about trying to hitch a ride to anywhere –‘Everyday, seem like murder here.’ The disc concludes with an African spiritual, “Mornin’ Train,” with Ulrike Bibb helping on vocals but an equally effective closer might have been “Brotherly Love” from earlier on the disc, which stresses the importance of welcoming those refugees. This is a valuable and beautifully done project, congratulations to all. Check out www.stonyplainrecords.com and www.ericbibb.com.

Loose Blues News - April 2017
John’s Blues Picks April 2017 – Mainline