Eric Bibb (Born 16/08/1951)
|Eric's music is a particular favourite of The Primer, a rich largely acoustic blues with elements of folk, country, soul, gospel and jazz. Son of the folk singer Leon Bibb, Eric grew up in the world of Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan and these influences have never left him. Eric has himself stated that whilst his roots are definitely in black American music he has also been influenced by anything from Ravel through to singer songwriters such as Joni Mitchell - quite a heady mixture.
Eric launched his career and early on performed at blues and folk festivals in London, Cambridge and Dublin - he eventually settled permanently in Sweden in the 1970s, where he spent some of his time as a music and voice teacher.
The second album "Good Stuff" was close to the debut in terms of overall feel but stepped more into the present with a good proportion of the songs written by Eric himself. Fine material ('Shingle By Shingle' is a particular favourite) and excellent accompaniment made for another excellent release. The instrumentation included traditional drums and guitars mixed in with bouzouki, mandolin and harmonium and the album managed to deliver both a traditional and contemporary sound.
Third on the scene "Me To You" saw a switch of labels and a more electric feel. Eric told the Primer that he was not entirely comfortable about the way the album was positioned and promoted and he did go back to a smaller label for his next release, but there is nonetheless much to admire. It is certainly a more accessible album to the more casual listener but the heart, passion and sincerity of Eric's music still shines through. The songwriting is still incredibly strong, there is a fine duet with Taj Mahal and there is no denying that the increased electronic / acoustic mix adds spice without compromise.
Eric Bibb is without doubt one of the leading exponents of the current revival of acoustic blues music, although he has undeservedly received far less exposure in the popular media than the likes of Keb Mo. Eric's music is characterised by respect for tradition combined with a genuine contemporary feel and a performance by the man is an enriching experience - he's a fine, percussive guitarist and expressive, warm vocalist. The Primer has been fortunate enough to see the man live on a number of occasions and he has always provided a genuinely uplifting and regenerative experience - and a nicer man you couldn't wish to meet!