IF I HAD A DOLLAR
Deep Mud (DM013-4CD)
See Me Crying, If I Had A Dollar, You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond, Jazzman, Blues Before Sunrise, Busy Bootin', Sweet Old Fashioned Way, Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor, You're Coming Back To Me, I Feel Like My Time Ain't Long, Goin' To Brownsville, Walking On Eggshells, You're Coming Back To Me Part 2
A return to the recording studio after a while away for this highly regarded UK blues guitarist, singer and song-writer and it has well been worth the wait.
Recorded (mostly) live and acoustic in the studio in Kent with an accomplished band (including a guest appearance by Jon Cleary on piano, organ and backing vocals), each of these 13 tracks are an absolute delight, but together this is just about the most satisfying album that I have heard in some time.
Mixing well chosen covers, blues standards and stunning original songs, there is so much to admire here. The most distinctive strength is Roger's skill on his National guitar, particularly when he gets that slide running up and down the strings. Check out his version of Blind Willie Johnson's You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond, Kokomo Arnold's Busy Bootin', the traditional I Feel Like My Time Ain't Long and Sleepy John Estes Goin' To Brownsville (a rare workout for his electric guitar) and those little hairs on the back of your neck will surely stand to attention. But he is also both a fine singer and songwriter, as evidenced by the title track, which also features some gorgeous finger-picked guitar. Sweet Old Fashioned Way is another impressive original which, musically at least, could well have featured on Jon Cleary's own excellent recent album, Go Go Juice (FHQ005).
Other highlights include the marvellous Jazzman, a beautifully understated number whose delightful lyrics are fully done justice by Roger's vocals. A feat repeated on the sublime version of the traditional Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor which has a pleasingly countrified feel, again enhanced by Roger's nimble finger-picking and tasteful vocals.
There really isn't any limit to the good things that can be said about this album. If you like your slide guitar like I like my slide guitar and albums without a single dull moment or duff track, I urge you to get a copy of this, you won't be disappointed.
Review Date: Febraury 2016