Elsewhere, Charlie Musselwite gives a killer snaky harmonica performance on ‘Six O’lock Blues’/ Taj Mahal makes two appearances; one in a duet on ‘Goin Down Slow’ and one in a trio with Bibb and Malian Guitarist Djellmady Tounkara on a medley of the traditional ‘Kulanjan’ and Bibb’s own ‘Sebastiabns’s Tune’. Speaking of Mali, and Mahal. Bibb also covers the elder bluesman’s classic ‘Lovin in My Baby’s eyes’. with the great Kora player madou Diabate that rivals the original. There’s also a gorgeous version of Guy and Susanna Clark’s ‘The Capa’.with guitarist Martin Simpson, Bibb’s moving ‘For You’ with Ruthie Foster, and ‘Tain’t No Such Thing’. a bright new folk song written and sung with legendary folk singer Odetta Mohan Veena ace Harry Manx performs with Bibb on the high lonesome, droning blues of ‘Needed Time’. and with Kristina Olsen on her ‘If I Stayed ‘. The set closes with the tender ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’, (an original, not the Leonard Cohen tune), with the Lovin’ Spoonful Jerry Yester playing piano.
Given that most records of this type are mixed bags at best with ‘star-studded’ collabs serving too much up or water down rather than enhance performances,’ Friends’ is an anomaly. There is nothing that’s obvious or overblown here, everything is subtly shaded, and the performances serve the songs and not themselves. The listener gets no sense of back patting or self-congratulation. only the great pleasure of hearing the music in a revealing, emotionally honest way. Bravo. Thom Jurek/AMG
Side A : 1. 99½ Won’t Do 2. Six O’Clock Blues 3. Goin’ Down Slo
Side B: 1.Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes 2. For You 3.The Cape 4.‘Tain’t Such A Much
Side C: 1. Needed Time 2.If I Stayed 3.Connected 4.Ribbons and Bows
Side D: 1. Just Look Up 2. Cowgirl Queen 3. Kulanjan/Sebastian’s Tune 4. Dance Me To The End Of Love
Label: Pure Pleasure/Manhaton
Cat No: PPAN013
Format: LP x 2 gatefold sleeve
Released October 2010
Re-mastering by: Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London.