Eric Bibb's "Blues People" Examines the African American Journey

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Eric Bibb is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. He continues to grow, his storytelling always painting compelling images for us to ponder.

While attending the Blues Foundation Awards in Memphis, the concept for Blues People began to take shape. This would be an album that examined the journey and struggles of a people, African Americans. As Bibb himself has said, “My intention with these songs is to focus on some of the history of African Americans, the original blues people, as a reminder of what we’ve been through and where the music is coming from. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my greatest heroes. The Civil Rights movement that he is synonymous with is referred to in several songs on this album. I hope these songs will remind us that Dr. King’s dream is still a work in progress – we are still not home. May the New Year bring us closer to living that dream.”

The 15 tracks on Blues People clock in at barely under one hour, and trust us, this is one hour that will take folks back in time. During this hour listeners will cry, shake their heads, and perhaps their sense of purpose will be renewed, knowing there is so much more to do yet. Listeners will also come to appreciate the trials and tribulations of a majestic people.

Production on Blues People by Glen Scott is spot on. The mix is perfect, and the sound quality is excellent. Guests joining Bibb on this outing include Poppa Chubby, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Ruthie Foster, Taj Mahal, and many more. On the whole, the music itself has a stark, bare bones feel about it that is very effective, evoking plenty of emotion. Even so, the music is far from depressing, and exudes a great ambiance.  “Silver Spoon” and “Turner Station” recall more traditional, gritty blues tracks of yesteryear, while “Remember The Ones” evokes memories of the old Memphis Stax records everyone loves.

“Rosewood” is a real, no holds barred, chilling look at the racially fueled Rosewood Massacre that took place over the course of several days in 1923 at Rosewood, Florida. The evil, vicious nature of this event still represents one of the most heinous crimes citizens of this country have committed against their fellow citizens.

Blues People is really a remarkable work of art. It presents a perspective of history that is vital, and does so in a way that is honest and evokes thought. It is a realistic look at the past that hopes for a better future. Pick this one up soon.

 Eric Bibb