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Coco Robicheaux - Spiritland (REVIEW - Blues Revue)

Orleans OR1511

"I walk with the spirit/I talk with the spirit as my guide/I see my light shine up above/ and I'm walking with the Spirit of love."

Robicheaux has attained status as one of the original and enduring adult hippies of the Deep South. A tried and true fixture of the New Orleans music scene, he is also a founding member of the Professor Longhair Foundation. A sculptor as well as a musician (he made the sculpture of Professor Longhair that you will see walking into Tipitina's) he brings that same three-dimensional perspective to the music he offers on this CD.

Robicheaux has created a dreamy kind of record. Definitely looking for the spiritual side of the blues, he presents original compositions that serve up "juicy slices of southern life served up on handsome well made platters of musical sound." I played this CD on a Sunday afternoon and it shaped my whole day. Spiritland takes you to exactly where it suggests it will.

With a voice that recalls Tom Waits at times, or Van Morrison (especially on the song "I Knew Without Asking"), Robicheaux spins his stories. From a spiritual man on a quest ("Walking With The Spirit"), to a pit bull howling for his baby ("Pit Bull"), to a working man's lament ("Working Man") Robicheaux tells his tales, all within the web of the darkest blues. "Broken Stories" is a straight-ahead blues with harpist Smokey Greenwell blowing some sweet harp in the background, as Robicheaux sings the blues of an artist too busy trying to keep his gig to notice that his woman had left him.

"The Saturday Night Before Christmas" is a Christmas song that transcends the season. Supported by Earl Stanley on organ, it has a sadness and gentleness that creeps into your spirit. That's what Robicheaux does best. Reaches in and touches you in a way that soothes the soul.

--- Elena Skye


Originally posted in Blues Revue #24 [August/September 1996], pg. 78-79


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