Mark Robinson Band – Live At The 5 Spot | Album Review

Mark Robinson Band – Live At The 5 Spot

Blind Chihuahua Records – 2017

8 tracks; 42 minutes

Mark Robinson famously followed exactly the title of his first CD – Quit Your Job – Play Guitar – and this is his third album. Recorded at home in Nashville, the album finds Mark on guitar and vocals with his regular rhythm section, Daniel Seymour on bass and vocals and Rick Schell on drums and vocals. Guests Chip Clarke sits in on drums on one track and Ben Graves (harp) and Mark T Jordan (keys) boost the trio for one cut. Mark had a hand in five of the songs, one came from one of his collaborators and there are two covers.

Opener “Baby’s Gone To Memphis” was written by friends Davis Raines and Michael Conner Rogers. It’s a fast shuffle with plenty of space for all the players to show their abilities. Mark’s deep voice works fine here but is slightly less suited to the second track, a cover of the Temptations’ “Can’t Get Next To You” which has a lot of wah-wah over a rather plodding beat. “Poor Boy” was a track on Mark’s first album, a co-write with Davis Raines and it follows a country blues structure with Mark on what sounds like a dobro. A new song “One Way Ticket” shows a more soulful side to the band with Mark’s bright guitar work well received by the audience. “I Know You’ll Be Mine” references the Mississippi Hill Country style as Mark sings quite aggressively that the girl has given him ‘the look’ and he is confident that she will end up with him: “I’ve got some whiskey, I’ve got some cocaine, I’ve got the keys to your car”. Who could resist such an offer!

Chip Clarke replaces Rick for “Under Her Spell” that Mark wrote with lyrical assistance from Mike Cullison to combine the theme of “Love Potion Number 9” with a relaxed latin groove. Things get more upbeat with “Drive Real Fast” which runs to over seven minutes with added keys and harp beefing up a classic blues riff-based tune, complete with a spacey middle section from which Mark emerges to provide a fine solo. Things do not let up with the closing cover of Eddy ‘The Chief’ Clearwater’s “Wouldn’t Lay My Guitar Down”, a fine piece of rock and roll with machine gun riffing from Mark.

This is an album that undoubtedly gives you a real taste of what the band must sound like live.

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