Music for your speakers: Eric Bibb – Good Stuff

This is another one of our favourite demonstration records. 

Good Stuff was released in1997 as the follow-up album to ‘Spirit & The Blues’, which was also recorded on the Opus 3 label.  Opus 3 is a small, independent, specialist Swedish record company, dedicated to recording acoustic music in a sympathetic environment, using analogue equipment.

As Eric Bibb wrote in the liner notes “these tracks were recorded “live”, with no overdubs and no after-the-event mixing.  In other words, what you get is what we got, – on tape – as it happened.”

He was born into a musical family in New York.  His father, Leon Bibb was, and is, a folk singer, who was part of the folk movement in Greenwich Village, New York, in the early 1960s.  His uncle was John Lewis, the pianist and musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and his godfather was Paul Robeson.  As well as these musicians his father introduced him to many other musicians such as Pete Seeger, Odetta, Josh White and Bob Dylan.

Bibb left the United States in the early 1980s and settled in Stockholm, Sweden where he found a lot of creative musicians, reminding him of his Greenwich Village days.  He formed a band with a group of like-minded Swedish musicians, and they played mainly American acoustic blues.  ‘Spirit & The Blues’, their first recording, contains mainly gospel music, with a little blues, whilst Good Stuff is the other way round.  The biggest influence on this album is Taj Mahal, and, in fact, the first track, the self-titled Good Stuff, sounds very much like him, with one of the musicians playing a Hawaiian guitar. Bibb wrote, or co-wrote, virtually all the tracks on the album.  He sings, sometimes with the help of the Deacons, a gospel vocal band that he formed for the Opus 3 recordings.  He also plays various guitars throughout the album, including a banjo, and a lute.  His backing band consists of Janne Petersson on piano, accordion or organ, Goran Wennerbrandt on various guitars, including slide, Chris Lyssarides on guitar, mandolin or bouzouki, Ollie Eriksson on double bass, and Bjorn Gideonsson on drums, with Nick Malmestrom adding guitar to some of the tracks, as well as various people playing harmonica on many of the tracks..

Listen to a track like ‘Saucer ‘n’ Cup which just has Bibb on his own, singing and playing guitar, or ‘When The Green Grass Grows’, where he is joined by his band playing guitars, organ, bass and drums, as well as the Deacons, who are augmented by four other backing singers.  In each case the sympathetic recording of the acoustic music means that it sounds so natural, as if the musicians are in your room.  Bibb’s relaxing style gives a laid-back feel to the whole album and your hi-fi will repay you for giving it a special treat by sounding at its best.

Paul Janove, Grahams Hi Fi, Islington


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