With All My Life, his second APO Records release, Jimmie Lee is aiming for goose bumps and tears. And if you've got appreciation for acoustic, front porch blues, you'll have a tough time escaping his spell.
No doubt Jimmie Lee Robinson offers a delightful taste of traditional blues. His work through the years with such stalwarts as Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed have made their impressions on the man called The Lonely Traveler just as he has been credited with inspiring them.
On All My Life you'll hear standby classics like a haunting, slowed-down version of Muddy Waters' Forty Days and Forty Nights with eerie harmonica accompaniment by Madison Slim. And Jimmie Lee even covers a non-blues favorite with What a Wonderful World. His live version of that song at a 1999 concert in Blue Heaven Studios - the converted church that is home to APO Records - brought tears to scores of the 400 in attendance.
But All My Life is also packed with Jimmie Lee originals like the title track, which was once covered by John Mayall, where Jimmie Lee pleads with the woman of his dreams to return all the respect and love he's paid to her. That track is also a perfect showcase for the classic Jimmie Lee growling vocals and the spurs jangling from his boots as the only percussion.
Unlike his first APO release, Remember Me, an almost entirely-solo effort, Jimmie Lee is joined on most of the All My Life tracks by APO artist and noted-guitarist Jimmy D. Lane and journeyman harp player Madison Slim, whose knack for acoustic blues is highlighted on this release.
Jimmie Lee has gained national attention for his protest of the destruction of Chicago's famed Maxwell Street, said to be the birthplace of Chicago blues and the neighborhood where Jimmie Lee grew up. He fasted for 81 straight days, shunning solid food as if it was the wrecking ball he so badly wants to stop. His efforts were even documented on the front page of the New York Times.
It's obvious Jimmie Lee takes things seriously. The same goes with his blues. He's likely been that way all his life.
"Anyone who spends some time with this CD will be pleased with the texture of the music. Robinson has a mellow, expressive voice which is eminently suited to his task. The arrangements are tasty and uncluttered. Robinson, Lane and Madison Slim put some serious feeling into these tunes, keeping the vibe lean and simple but hardly simplistic. Every track, from his originals to Muddy's "Forty Days and Forty Nights," Dixon's "Too Late" and Jimmy Rogers' "Ludella," is imbued with a warmth and sentiment that makes ...all my life a special experience for the listener. Maxwell Street may have been reduced to brick dust and splinters, but it lives on in the acoustic blues ethic that rules this album." - Philip Van Vleck, Blues Access, Fall 2001
"Jimmie Lee Robinson is one deadly serious man, more so than any of his peers. Unless you saw some other blues musician on the front page of the New York Times, refusing to eat for damn near three months in order to stop the destruction of Chicago's most prominent blues landmark: Maxwell Street...this disc is all about the back porch and the open field. Robinson may be from the street, may be willing to starve to save it, but it's not all he knows, and ...All My Life proves it without a doubt." - Robert Fontenot, Blues Revue
"Robinson has a mellow but strong voice that belies his 70 years; his guitar melds with Lane's perfectly, and Madison Slim's harmonica playing is muted to act as a foil to Robinson's vocal delivery...Born in 1931, Jimmie Lee Robinson was old enough to have played with many of the giants of the post-war Chicago blues scene. ...All My Life is his tribute to them and to the downhome roots of their music." - John Barnie, Juke Blues, Issue No. 51
"All My Life is a worthy tribute to the Chicago Maxwell Street tradition of rhythm and blues. It's a stand up front porch acoustic style that has Robinson's spurs jangling in time with the beat, his humming of the tune between lyrics and generally beguiling the listener with every bold and richly coloured improvisation...this superbly recorded Chicago blues just eats you up inside."
Recording = 10/10 Music = 10/10
- Reuben Parry, Hi-Fi+, Issue 31, page 134
For a closer look at this outstanding bi-monthy audio magazine, please visit http://www.hifiplus.com
|1. Forty Days and Forty Nights|
|2. I'll Be Around|
|3. Love My Baby|
|4. Driftin' Blues|
|5. The Girl I Love|
|6. All My Life|
|7. I'm Ready|
|8. Too Late|
|9. The Sun Is Shining|
|10. Easy Baby|
|11. If I Get Lucky|
|13. What A Wonderful World|