A chance meeting through Facebook led me to singer-songwriter and guitarist Bobby Thompson and his incredible album By The Hand, which consists of ten delicious blues influenced rock songs. Being a diehard Eric Clapton fan, who followed his career through The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and his solo career, it is easy for this writer to hear the channeling of Eric Clapton in the pre Cream years and post Derek and the Dominos years, whether Bobby Thompson is conscious of it or not.
Thompson’s album By The Hand opens with “Live With None,” one of the eight songs on this album for which he personally crafted the lyrics and the music. A number of things become apparent to the listener as this song rolls out, the smooth drumming of Gary Crockett who also produced this recording, the equally smooth guitar playing of Thompson that impresses and at times dazzles, but it is never over the top, and as the song draws to a close we are introduced to the soulful background vocals of Dusty Rose and Angie Head.
Thompson amps up his guitar playing and the note bending becomes more pronounced during his solo on “Every New Day,” and Angie Head absolutely shines as Thompson engages her in a call and response.
Thompson’s guitar growls on “Let Your Mojo Shine,” and bassist Jeff Frank compliments him well and the vocals are haunting. If you are a rock guitar aficionado you will love this song. The roles are reversed and it is more like the vocals are the accompanying instrument to the electric guitar, which serves as the centerpiece.
The pace slows down for the very soulful “Soul Love,” a tender confession of love. The thing that impresses most about Bobby Thompson’s vocals is his ability to sing with feeling, knowing when to linger for a moment on a phrase, so the listener can soak it in. The pace is easygoing and although the album credits only list Benjie Porecki as playing keyboards, the subtle background instrumentals suggest a Hammond B3. Gary Crockett’s drumming is soft and he keeps the hi-hat cymbals busy, while Steve Wolf is steady on bass.
Saxophonist Ron Holloway (Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi) makes a spectacular guest appearance on the Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper and Wayne Jackson song “Things Get Better,” recorded back in the day by Eric Clapton and by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Dusty Rose and Angie Head provide the background vocals.
The album By The Hand closes first with the gentle instrumental “Be Your Love,” and then Albert King’s “I’ve Made Nights By Myself,” which showcases the talented musicians on this album as Thompson shines again on guitar, Holloway gets down and finds a deep groove with his saxophone and Benjie Porecki now on piano is superb, while leading the rhythm section, bassist Steve Wolfe and drummer Gary Crockett close this album out in style.
By The Hand is a well-produced collection of songs, by a good singer-songwriter and guitarist Bobby Thompson, and if you love really well played blues influenced rock music then this album should be playing on your smart phone, your computer, in your car or whatever music device you are using these days. You can listen to some of the songs on Bobby Thompson’s website and you can take them home with you by clicking on the store tab on the same page.
Reviewed by Joe Montague
This review is protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved by Riveting Riffs Magazine