Eric Bibb – The Happiest Man In The World (2016) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

Eric Bibb and North Country Far with Danny Thompson – The Happiest Man In The World (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 51:55 minutes | 875 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Dixiefrog Records
Recorded: The Grange Studios, Norfolk, UK

The Happiest Man In The World is a tasty gumbo of new bluesy-country songs recorded in the English countryside. This stellar acoustic band is made up of musicians who have known each other for years: Eric Bibb on vocals and guitars, Petri Hakala on mandolin and mandola and Olli Haavisto on dobro and weissenborn as well as other slide instruments. The band are joined by legendary upright bassist Danny Thompson (Alexis Korner, Pentangle, Donovan, John Martyn and more). The exuberant, soulful sound at the heart of these songs makes The Happiest Man In The World a delicious treat. Eric Bibb’s career spans five decades, 36 albums, countless radio & TV shows and non-stop tours, making him one of the leading bluesmen of his generation.

Journeyman singer/guitarist Eric Bibb has made a career out of inspired collaborations and displaying the kind of versatility that can only be learned from traveling the world with ears open. A New York bluesman with a classic folk pedigree — his father was respected 1960s folksinger Leon Bibb — Eric opted to base himself out of Europe, where he found a fan base eager to embrace American roots music. At one point, while living in Helsinki, Finland, he befriended brothers Janne (drums) and Olli Haavisto (Dobro, pedal steel), who then introduced him to Petri Hakala (mandolin). After collaborating on a number of projects together, this Finnish trio soon took on the name the North Country Far when backing up Bibb. For this pastoral and pleasantly laid-back set, Bibb also reached out to legendary British bassist Danny Thompson (Pentangle, Nick Drake, Tim Buckley), and the extended group met up at a rural U.K. studio near Norfolk called the Grange for a week of recording. An all-acoustic mixed bag of country blues, folk, and some high-grade picking, The Happiest Man in the World is brimming with warmth and comfort. A breezy back-porch feeling extends throughout its somewhat lengthy 15 tracks as Bibb and his crew tumble through playful cuts like “I’ll Farm for You” and “Born to Be Your Man,” a pair of tracks whose casual demeanor belies their expert musicianship. A good-natured tenderness underlies many of Bibb’s characters, like the amiable couples in “Creole Café” and “On the Porch” and the upbeat dreamer in “King Size Bed.” Where he really excels, though, is on some of the quieter, more introspective songs like “Prison of Time” and “Wish I Could Hold You Now,” two beautiful cuts of dreamy melancholia that softly celebrate the richness of life. There are even a couple of fine instrumental pieces in “1912 Skiing Disaster” and the Irish tin whistle-aided “Blueberry Boy” that round out the collection. Lovingly played and written and certainly easy on the ears, The Happiest Man in the World is an apt title for this plate of musical comfort food from Bibb and his band. –AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger

1. The Happiest Man In The World 03:06
2. Toolin’ Down The Road 03:22
3. I’ll Farm For You 03:49
4. Tossin’ An’ Turnin’ 03:35
5. Creole Café 04:19
6. Born To Be Your Man 03:40
7. Prison Of Time 05:14
8. King Size Bed 02:35
9. On The Porch 04:16
10. 1912 Skiing Disaster 02:08
11. Tell Ol’ Bill 04:26
12. Wish I Could Hold You Now 03:56
13. Blueberry Boy 03:05
14. You Really Got Me 03:11
15. King Size Bed (Instrumental) 01:04

Eric Bibb, vocals, acoustic guitars, 6-string banjo & guitalele
Danny Thompson, upright bass
Olli Haavisto, dobro, pedal steel, acoustic guitars, Hawaiian guitar
Petri Hakala, mandolin, mandola, fiddle (on track 4), guitar (on track 10)
Janne Haavisto, drums, percussion
Ulrika Pontén Bibb, backing vocals (on track 11)
May Murphy, Irish whistle (on track 13)
Michael Jerome Brown, slide & 12-string guitars (on track 14)
Pepe Ahlquist, harmonica (on track 14)