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Smilin’ Bobby & Hidden Charms - Big Legged Woman

Wolf Records

10 tracks

I live in a fairly large metropolitan area. It’s the capital of a state with the seventh highest population in the nation. For some reason, we have regular power outages. The last one was just under three hours. After I lit all of the candles, I contemplated what to do next. It was evening but way too early to go to bed. So, I decided to dig out my portable CD player and headphones and insert fresh batteries to listen to Big Legged Woman by Smilin’ Bobby. I had read the liner notes a few days before and I was a little apprehensive. The liner notes were extensive. It is possible to provide too much information. The liner note writer did Smilin’ Bobby a disservice. In stead of focusing on the good, he wrote about uneven musicianship, bad backing bands, and inappropriate venues and the like. As it turned out, listening to Big Legged Woman was a pleasant way to pass the time.

I love a good instrumental and the CD starts with a good one with “I Play For Keeps.” The second track, “I Didn’t Know” has an old rock and roll feel to it and his voice on it is gruff and gritty. “Cold, Cold Feeling” gets blusier. “Big Legged Woman” has a steady beat with the guitar swirling around it almost psychedelically. You can hear all the nuances listening with the headphones in the dark. “Little By Little,” “I Got To Leave This Woman,” and “They Call Me Dog” are average fare that probably are best suited for a live performance. “The Bobby Strut” is another fine instrumental. “You Don’t Love Me” is my favorite, It’s headed to my mp3 player which is the highest level of praise I can give because that means I want to carry it around with me. The song has a definite Chicago wang dang vibe to it. (I made that description up.) “You Are The One” is a good number to end the CD. It’s a positive song, no you done me wrong, I done you wrong.

Smilin’ Bobby is Bobby G. Smith, originally from Helena Arkansas. His stage name is based on his sunny disposition as evidenced by the numerous photos of him smiling on the liner notes. Bobby is the vocalist and lead guitarist. The Hidden Charms on this CD are: Brian Reed also on guitar, Warren Lethan on bass, and Myron Katz on drums. Smilin’ Bobby is another talented musician’s musician that the average lay person has never heard of. He has played with Little Walter, Eddie Clearwater, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, and others. His early influences were his grandmother who played piano and Magic Sam with whom he also played. His later influences were Little Milton, Albert King and Albert Collins. He plays “modern” Chicago Blues and R&B. Although, people seem to forget that the B in R&B stands for Blues. So in a sense, it’s all the same. Big Legged Woman is good stuff. I now listen to the CD with the power on too..

Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.

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