Saturday, September 18, 2010

Robin Rogers New CD is Reason to Celebrate Her

The release of Robin Rogers’ new Blind Pig CD, “Back in the Fire,” should have been a cause of celebration and a further step in her career’s evolution and growth. However, serious health issues have arisen (discussed below) that may soon still this powerful and soulful voice. The comments of her many admirers and friends suggest that this will be a considerable loss, both in musical and personal terms. I have not had the pleasure of meeting her or seeing her perform, but statements from fellow blues-woman Debbie Davies, and XM-Sirius blues programmer, Bill Wax, make it clear that she is a very special person, not simply a special talent.

And what a voice she has. She sings with complete authority and total conviction which is evident on the opening track, “Baby Bye-Bye,” that starts with hard hitting guitar from her husband Tony, before Robin emphatically tells her ex that the only one he loves is himself and he ain’t gonna steal Robin’s pride. Tony Rogers builds a nice solo here with the rest of the band solidly keeping the groove (and in the case of Mark Stallings on organ add to the atmosphere). Its a strong performance of a striking lyric. Robin adds nice harp to “Second Time Around,” with Kerry Brooks on bass, producer-drummer Jim Brock and Stallings on piano maintaining an easy shuffle groove with Robin taking a nice harp solo on a lively performance. “You Don’t Know,” takes down the heat down as Robin sings in a low-key manner about how she has rested in the shadows and let love pass her by as she has been hurt too many time. Again, the Rogers have such a way with words and Robin sings with as much soul here and Tony adds a sweet guitar solo.

Photo by Bob Hakins
courtesy of Blind Pig Records
Among other selections, Robin marvelously interprets the Little Willie John classic “Need Your Love So Bad,” with horns part of the backing and Bob Margolin guests and palys a strong guitar solo. “I Know I Done Wrong,” is a lively number with a New Orleans flavored groove as Robin admits she has been a bit wild. In this disc of wonderful performances, the most powerful may be “Don’t Walk Away Run,” Chuck Glass’ song of spouse abuse as Robin entreats her friend to get away from the abuser who drinks too much and loves to fight with no one his own size. The simple backing helps make Robin’s urging that her friend “leave him tonight before the morning sun, don’t walk away (pause) run,” stand out even more. Robin’s harp also adds to the mood on this compelling performance.

This terrific recording is counter-balanced by the fact that less than a month prior to its release, Robin Rogers, who had hospitalized for sever liver problem, was diagnosed with liver cancer.  A scan prior to surgery revealed an untreatable cancerous tumor on her liver.  She is not a candidate for a liver transplant so she had been sent home for hospice care. A trust fund has been set up to help with medical expenses and also aid for Tony who will be out of work. Like most musicians, they do not have health insurance and depend on touring income for their livelihood.  Expenses for hospice care, medicine, and everyday living will be extremely high.  Much of this is taken from from the Blind Pig Records website, which also has information on how one can help Robin and Tony and provides information on benefits as well (there is a Facebook page, Robin Rogers Benefit Central), and to a paypal link on the Charlotte Blues Society's homepage  to make direct donations. There is also a direct link to Robin Rogers’s webpage,, from which one can directly purchase Robin’s CDs including the excellent “Back in the Fire.”

For FTC purposes, Blind Pig records sent the review copy of this. I also have separately purchased a copy of this recording and made a donation to Robin. I hope that other blues and music fans will take my lead and buy some of her wonderful music from her website.

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