February 18th - There's Always Tomorrow
There's Always Tomorrow - Arbee Stidham, 1973
Arbee Stidham has a hell of a story.
I know, I know - a lot of what I write here ends up being biographical, instead of focusing on, you know, the music. But uh the music is almost uniformly great - if I don't like an album I usually don't write about it! And I can only say that songs are "vibrant and expertly executed" so many times. But the musicians themselves all have incredible stories, so I can always talk about them. Most of the biographical information I'm about to talk about actually comes from Stidham's previous album, Arbee's Blues. In those notes we learn that Stidham was originally a jazz saxophone player, but playing the saxophone aggravated a medical condition until he was advised by a doctor that to continue would be to court death. He fell into a deep depression until his friend, blues musician Big Bill Broonzy, essentially tricked him into playing a concert on guitar, which at the time he didn't play. But he liked playing it, so Stidham switched to blues music and to guitar.
I'm talking about this album rather than Arbee's Blues, because that album is a bit more traditional blues - but There's Always Tomorrow is firmly into blues rock. The songs are smooth, with a lot of organ and drums, as well as extensive solos on electric guitar. The opening track, Please Let It Be Me, is an excellent slice of blues groove, but the MVP of this album has to be the jazzy automobile ode My Lincoln Continental.
Click here to read liner notes and purchase this album from Smithsonian Folkways