12 tracks/running time 40:30
The Portland/Seattle Pacific Northwest music scene has come a long way since the ’60s when just about the only happenings were Odell Brown & The Organizers (regional favorites even though they were Chicago based), Ural Thomas, Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, Pleasure, Mel Renfro’s House of Sound, and okay, The Kingsman and Tacoma’s Surf band, The (Fabulous) Wailers. Seattle’s Jimi Hendrix, as we know, had to expatriate to U.K. to make it.
Since 1992, Terry Robb has won the Cascade Blues Associations Muddy Award in the Pacific Northwest at least twenty-‘leven times or so and is therefore a good representation of the current crop of Who’s Blue in those parts. Much of the Blues press places Robb at the top of the heap of acoustic and electric pickers globally. That’s a mighty cross to bear.
Cool On The Bloom is a collection of Mr. Robb’s latest acoustic fretwork sensibility. He plucks with a broad stroke, finely tuned, combining elements of Ragtime, Delta Boogie, Piedmont style Blues, slick jazz arpeggios and scales with a subtle hint of Segovia sensibility.
Out of the gate Robb is a force to be reckoned with. He comes right at the listener with track 1, “Soc Hop.” His fingers fly fancifully. Like Lightnin’ Hopkins on speed dial.
Most of the tracks are in an acoustic setting. Drummer Dennis Carter and Dave Kahl on electric bass augment track track 10, “Late Night Kahl, ” where Robb’s intense Blues phrasing are juxtaposed against Kahl’s walking bass line.
Albert Reda accompanies on acoustic bass on track 3, “Christmas In Istanbul,” track 4 “Watermelon Eye Patch Groove,” track 7 “You Showed Me,” and track 11 “Honey One,” but to this reviewers ears the bass sounds amplified.
Sometimes quirky song titles aside, Terry Robb does exhibit masterful chops throughout. Checkout his bottleneck technique on track 8, the tristful “Holy Spirit, Father and Son,” or the Ragtime inspired track 6, “Soggy Foot Rag.”
His vocals, while not as superlative as his playing, do lend an air of uniqueness and respectability. Check out his phrasing on tracks 5, “So Glad” and 9, “Ham Hound Crave.”
Enough journalists, critics and nominators find enough merit for Terry Robb’s Cool On The Bloom to be considered as a contender for Best Acoustic Blues Album in the Blues Blast Magazine 2017 BBMAs. Voting is now open to Blues Blast Magazine subscribers until August 15. Past nominees and winners of this category include Guy Davis, Steve Earle & The Dukes and Rory Block.