CD - Sherman Robertson: Guitar Man
Robertson has an interesting track record and spent several years in the 1980s out on the road with Clifton Chenier. This background, including a tenure with Rockin' Dopsie as well as Chenier, is clearly where Robertson fully developed his highly rhythmic playing, which he combines with electrifying solos, especially in a live setting.
When he did eventually strike out on his own, he produced the excellent "I'm A Man" on the Atlantic/Code Blue label which the Shades site always thought was one of the best blues albums of the 1990s.
Many pundits have however always argued that to get Sherman Robertson at his best you have to see and hear him live - which brings us to this release from the Movinmusic label. Teaming up with BlueMove (Julian Grudgings, John Moloney and Mike Heller), Robertson has produced a very fine illustration of the excitement and power of his live performance. Recorded in Holland in 2005, the album showcases both his own compositions and a judicious range of covers.
All the Robertson trademarks are there - soulful vocals, excellent guitar work (great band by the way), delivered with a passion and sense of enjoyment that will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen the man live. Particular highlights for the Shades site are Sherman's take on Chris Youlden's 'Out Of Sight Out Of Mind', Ray Sharpe's 'Linda Lou' and the album's closer 'Tin Pan Alley'.
The Shades site is still waiting for a new studio CD that truly showcases the range and breadth of Robertson's talents - someone once described Sherman as 'one part zydeco, one part swamp blues, one part electric blues and one part classic rhythm & blues'. We're looking forward to an album that genuinely encapsulates all the facets of the man's playing, singing and writing. This live release, whilst very fine, doesn't really accomplish that - like many live albums, it suffers a little from the extended jams that work better when you are in the audience rather than sat at home listening to the CD. But as an example of his funky groove, fiery guitar playing and soulful vocals, it's going to be difficult to beat. So while we wait and hope for that studio CD to come along, "Guitar Man" is probably the best live blues album you will get to hear in 2006!
The "Buy Now" link will take you to the Amazon site but if for any reason the CD is no longer on offer there you can always get it directly from Movinmusic.