Friends

Eric Bibb's recent recording projects have been superb, and with "Friends" he shows that he's more than willing to share the fun.

Eric Bibb's recent recording projects have been superb, and with "Friends" he shows that he's more than willing to share the fun. He cut 15 tunes and invited several artists to participate in the proceedings. The outcome is quite favorable. Particularly auspicious tracks include "Six O'Clock Blues" with Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica, "Goin' Down Slow" with Taj Mahal on vocal and guitar and "Cowgirl Queen" featuring Led Ka' Apana on ukulele. Martin Simpson adds a sweet slide guitar to Bibb's original gem "The Cape," and Odetta lends her considerable vocal presence to " 'Taint Such a Much." Kora player Mamadou Diabate supplies a touch of the exotic to "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes." Bibb's adept feel for blues, folk and gospel shines throughout, and he moves among them effortlessly. With this eloquent disc, Bibb solidifies his spot on the blues A-list.—PVV