Introducing Roy Roberts
New Moon Music continues to document the Virginia-Carolinas blues scene with this debut album of Roy Roberts. After years of playing the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, and West Virginia, backing numerous soul legends, and a stint playing country, he has turned to the blues with a soul-tinged release comprised mostly of his own originals.
There’s nothing flashy about Roy Roberts as either a singer or guitarist, but his fleet playing is tasteful and his mellow, soulful singing sounds like he might be at home with Jerry Butler songs. His songs are idiomatic, if not particularly distinctive. The highpoint is Roberts’ back-door man blues, Comin’ Thru the Back Door, where his best friend has been messing with his girl friend. The backing is first-rate, with Skeeter Brandon on piano and Phil Mazarick’s B-3 organ especially standing out. The band plays in a tight manner with effective horn charts.
Roberts’ soft delivery may not impress on first hearing, but his genial delivery grows over time. Nothing earth-shaking, but Roy Roberts has something to offer with his mellow and soulful approach.
I likely received a review copy from the record label. This review originally appeared in the February 1995 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 198). This should still be available. Here is Roy Roberts performing at the 2010 Pocono Blues Festival.