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The Bullfrog Blues Club
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ROBIN BIBI BAND : Bullfrog Blues Dockyard Club Southsea - October 1st

A welcome return for the diminutive, tireless troubadour and his fine band featuring Tony Martin, bass, (his collaborator on the recent fine Ram Jam album) and Craig Bacon on drums.

Like vintage wine Robin appears to be improving with age, certainly his panache and dynamism are undimmed and there was plenty of new material to savour. He set the tone with a long slow guitar solo, eventually joined by his sidekicks to reach a crescendo on a thundering and fluid twelve bar 'Love Don't Mean A Thing'.

Taking up the slide on a brand new song, 'Play' his playing was both vibrant and expressive. A lengthy instrumental gave Robin chance to introduce the band and both performed impressive solos before the front man himself provided a lovely fast handed solo with a brief nod to 'Day Tripper'.

Another Robin standard 'In Too Deep' followed, with the anthemic Blues Rocker showcasing the maestro's virtuosity, complete with pin drop solo and violin tone. A lesser known BB King number, 'Waiting On You' followed a tale of losing his harmonica, leading to cries of "Oh happy days!" from the band before disappointing them by brandishing a new one purchased that very day!

Another handsome slab of smouldering Blues Rock followed with an atmospheric and evocative lyric culminating with Robin sat at stage front with lilting poignant guitar, dextrous picking and soaring fret work with a scat vocal climax.

The lengthy first set finished with an up tempo 'No More Secrets', a hypnotic Rocker which saw Robin succumb to his inner Rock God and dancers in the aisles!

The second set got underway with a classic Fleetwood Mac trilogy given Robin's inimitable touches of orchestration and some quite superb guitar playing, culminating with 'Long Grey Mare', the flamboyant showman using a pint glass as a slide and standing on a table top in mid audience playing behind his head with his customary hat lent to a lady in the partisan crowd.

The resultant rapturous applause was followed by a bow to Hendrix with 'Little Annie Brown leading off with a funky bass solo with fluid picking and fret work before a superb spider like drum solo from Craig making his trek from Saxmundham worthwhile.

Robin has a down to earth easy rapport with his audience despite the show boating and pyrotechnics, and he took time out to pay tribute to those stalwarts that keep the Bullfrog alive, before a rhetorical 'What Can I Do To Make You Stay' complete with guitar and mic stand solo.

An encore of another fine original 'Fast Lane Is Busy' sent the happy crowd out to a cold night. Judging by the strength of material in evidence here, Robin's many fans should look forward to his brand new self- penned release he tells me is due out in the New Year. I know I am.

Bob Chaffey - Blues In Britain

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