Just got another STELLAR review-this time in Blues Blast Magazine!!!
” Hailing from Florida’s West Coast, Franc Robert offers up 11 original songs and 3 covers in this very traditional acoustic blues album. His finger picking and guitar work are superb. It’s just him and his guitar here as Robert bares it all in this production.
I found the guitar playing to be very solid and well done. His original songs are a breath of fresh air. Good topics, lyrics that are well thought out and, well, lyrical, and well-constructed. There are some very impressive new songs here that are outstanding. Robert also has an interesting approach to his vocals. He is sort of breathy and works at getting an old time, authentic sound. He sings predominantly though his head and one can almost hear his sinuses resonate as he gasps and wails out the lyrics. It’s a little odd at first but it grew on me!
The covers are St. James Infirmary, Mississippi Blues and Railroad Blues. The covers are pretty much straight up renditions of the traditional songs. He infuses his vocal style on all three; his voice begins to sound almost desperate with his breathy and interesting style here on the covers and on the originals. He shows he can play these tunes with the best of them on these covers.
I really preferred the original songs. The opening cut “Honey What’s Wrong” evokes the style of early Delta masters like Son House. He does this song orally, accompanied only with hand claps in a very old and cool style. The slide work on the title track that follows this is a stark contrast to the bare opening number and he plays his heart out. “Chihuahua Blues” is a somewhat humorous take on a song that reminded me of Robert Johnson. The next two cuts “These Low Down Blues” and “Dem Devil Bones”have a much more modern sound (perhaps the 50s and 60’s) have a more modern sound. “Mississippi On My Mind” and “Tax Time Blues” are more traditional; I enjoyed the latter statement on the IRS. “Travellin’ Bluesman” is a little more modernistic but “Treat Me Right” and “Never Felt More Alone” return back to the Delta. The closer, “Sunday Morning,” is a beautiful and inspirational slow finger picking instrumental that is just a joy.
I enjoyed Franc Roberts guitar work and his vocals grew on me after a few listens. He’s working to present his music in an authentic style. He’s written some excellent new songs and I think he’s got something here that acoustic fans will enjoy.”
Just got this in from Nathan Norgel of Wasser Prada (Germany)… this is the Google translation…
“After the ” Mulligan Stew ” with its Boxcar Tourists 2012, I had actually expected again on the new album by Franc Robert with a similar disc . But the materials posted in Chihuahua Blue Records “Ride The Iron Road ” is a classic case for : A man, his guitar and the blues. And the sounds in every note on the Mississippi Delta in the early period seen through the eyes of later generations .
Particularly clear is of course in the three classics of the album . 17493 The felt version of St. James Infirmary therefore comes as a crossroads of folk revival and hippie nostalgia . The “Mississippi Blues ” and the ” Railroad Blues” are also more innovated historically accurate as radical.
Today, the problems are of course other : Thus Franc Robert has no chance to compete against the dog on the lap of his beloved, even if he sings on the iron horse from the ride , it tends to bikes or trucks than the rattle of freight trains. And today the traveling bluesman is itself no longer safe from having to share his hard-earned money with the tax authority ( ” Tax Time Blues “).
What makes it particularly interesting for Guitar Fans “Ride The Iron Road ” , is the large variety of historical instruments that Robert used here . From diverse Dobros to historical guitars by Martin from the 20’s they last. And Robert is a picker as well as with the Slide a great player .
A recommendation for fans of acoustic blues and musicians such as Joe Bottleneck , Greyhound George or the classics between Son House and Robert Johnson.”
This JUST in, from John Vermilyea of the Blues Underground Network…
“Ride The Iron Road” marks the second album I have received from Franc Robert with the previous one being his 2012 release “Mulligan Stew” as Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists. “Mulligan Stew” was an album that really impressed me a lot, to the point where I even included it in my Blues Underground Network’s Top 10 USA Blues Albums 2012 List, of which some of what I wrote about that album was, “Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists are a rare group whom have put together a rare album indeed in “Mulligan Stew”, as this is the kind of great music that does not come around that often. I can only imagine how great it would be to play this album when camping around the campfire, as this one just has that right feel to it that can really warm the soul .” For “Ride The Iron Road”, Franc Robert has again brought us another rare treat, this time without The Boxcar Tourists as he goes Solo with just his great Voice and an equally great assortment of Guitars, which included, a National Style 1 tricone, Slide, a no-name dobro, Martin D-1R, and a 1921 Martin O-18.
“Ride The Iron Road” marks Franc Robert’s first return to his Acoustic side since his 2011 release “Why Do I Never Win”, as he offers up 11 original Tracks and 3 great Covers, “St. James Infirmary”, “Mississippi Blues”, and “Railroad Blues”. Franc Robert covers a fair bit of ground on “Ride The Iron Road”, which could be categorized as Son House Influenced, Modern Blues, and even Blues of a more Humorous nature. When you also include the Traditional three Covers, you can easily see how nicely diversified “Ride The Iron Road” is. Also with it’s diversification, comes it’s Authentic feeling side, brought to the forefront with a more Traditional length to all but one of the albums Tracks, for which the most part, fall in the under three minute category, with the opening Track actually only being 1:33 in length. I find that I really enjoy these types of albums of which the songs quickly get to the point, not relying on a whole bunch of sometimes unnecessary filler.
“Ride The Iron Road” was released April 15, 2014, and it did not take long for it to become noticed, most notably by WEFT 90.1 in Champaign, Illinois, for whom in their April 2014 Top 25 List had the album already pegged at #9 and in good company with the likes of The Holmes Brothers “Brotherhood” and Bob Corritore’s “Taboo” releases, not overly far ahead at #1 and #2.
Franc Robert’s love and knowledge of the Blues, in fact over 30 years of it, has certainly set him apart, especially when dealing with the more authentic Traditional style Blues of which you will notice right away on “Ride The Iron Road”.
Not that I needed a break, in any way, from his previous release, but never the less I sure enjoyed this other side to Franc Robert as I am sure that many others will that really enjoy super Blues done simply super.
“Ride The Iron Road” is an album I highly recommend… It is certainly one of the very best in the Solo Performer Category released, so far, in 2014…
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Just got this in, the Top 25 on WEFT 90.1 (Champaign, IL)… we cracked the Top 10, clocking in at #9!!! Now THAT’S some good news!!!!
WEFT 90.1 FM Living Blues Top 25 Chart – April 2014
1. The Holmes Brothers – Brotherhood – Alligator
2. Bob Corritore – Taboo – Delta Groove
3. Jarekus Singleton – Refuse To Lose – Alligator Records
4. Johnny Drummer – Bad Attitude – Earwig Music
5. John Nemeth – Memphis Grease – Blue Corn
6. Nick Moss Band – Time Ain’t Free – Blue Bella Records
7. Damon Fowler – Sounds of Home – Blind Pig Records
8. Annie Mack – Baptized In The Blues – Self Released
9. Franc Robert – Ride The Iron Road – Blue Chihuahua
10. James Armstrong – Guitar Angels – Catfood Records
11. Terry Quiett Band – Taking Sides – Lucky Bag Records
12. Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers – Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers –
13. Joe Louis Walker – Hornet’s Nest – Alligator Records
14. Various artists – Blues Mix 13 Grown Folks Soul – Ecko Records
15. Harmonica Hinds – I’d Give You Anything If I Could – Wolf Records
16. Alex Jenkins & The Bombers – Voodoo You – Self Released
17. John & Sylvia Embry – Troubles – Delmark Records
18. Daunielle – Daunielle – Catfood Records
19. John Hammond – Timeless – Palmetto
20. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes & Terry “Harmonica” Bean – Twice As Hard – Broke &
21. Lisa Mann – Move On – Self Released
22. Bernie Pearl – Take Your Time – Bee Bump Music
23. Jim Suhler – Panther Burn – Underworld Records
24. Leo Welch – Sabougla Voices – Big Legal Mess Records
25. Rev. KM Williams – Jukin’ in the Holy Land – Nobody’s Fault Productions