'IF I HAD A DOLLAR' album reviews 2016

BLUES MATTERS magazine CD Reviews

Deep Mud Records

Question: who said the following in 1972? “Roger Hubbard is as good as any blues guitarist in the U.K. or the United States”. Answer, Muddy Waters. So why don’t we hear more on record of this skilled bluesman? He has a long, laudable history in British blues; he’s opened for Muddy Waters, and shared a stage with some of the UK’s finest; Bob Hall, Jo Ann Kelly, her brother Dave, and Tony McPhee. This album was cut acoustically in a Kent studio with an impressive band and features a guest appearance by Jon Cleary on piano, organ and backing vocals. 13 tracks, six of which are Roger’s compositions, and they’re all a total pleasure to listen to. The poignant title song, If I Had A Dollar, is as fine a modern blues song you’ll hear on either side of the Atlantic. There’s a terrific version of Leroy Carr’s Blues Before Sunrise with the band rolling along with moody slide guitar from Roger and Cleary’s atmospheric piano. The guitar playing on the traditional I Feel Like My Time Ain’t Long is exemplary. If you like your blues authentic and traditional, then you’ll find yourself playing this CD over and over again. Let’s face it, Muddy Waters knew a good thing when he heard it.




Deep Mud (DM013-4CD)

See Me Crying, If I Had A Dollar, You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond, Jazzman, Blues Before Sunrise, Busy Bootin', Sweet Old Fashioned Way, Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor, You're Coming Back To Me, I Feel Like My Time Ain't Long, Goin' To Brownsville, Walking On Eggshells, You're Coming Back To Me Part 2

A return to the recording studio after a while away for this highly regarded UK blues guitarist, singer and song-writer and it has well been worth the wait.

Recorded (mostly) live and acoustic in the studio in Kent with an accomplished band (including a guest appearance by Jon Cleary on piano, organ and backing vocals), each of these 13 tracks are an absolute delight, but together this is just about the most satisfying album that I have heard in some time.

Mixing well chosen covers, blues standards and stunning original songs, there is so much to admire here. The most distinctive strength is Roger's skill on his National guitar, particularly when he gets that slide running up and down the strings. Check out his version of Blind Willie Johnson's You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond, Kokomo Arnold's Busy Bootin', the traditional I Feel Like My Time Ain't Long and Sleepy John Estes Goin' To Brownsville (a rare workout for his electric guitar) and those little hairs on the back of your neck will surely stand to attention. But he is also both a fine singer and songwriter, as evidenced by the title track, which also features some gorgeous finger-picked guitar. Sweet Old Fashioned Way is another impressive original which, musically at least, could well have featured on Jon Cleary's own excellent recent album, Go Go Juice (FHQ005).

Other highlights include the marvellous Jazzman, a beautifully understated number whose delightful lyrics are fully done justice by Roger's vocals. A feat repeated on the sublime version of the traditional Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor which has a pleasingly countrified feel, again enhanced by Roger's nimble finger-picking and tasteful vocals.

There really isn't any limit to the good things that can be said about this album. If you like your slide guitar like I like my slide guitar and albums without a single dull moment or duff track, I urge you to get a copy of this, you won't be disappointed.


BLUES IN BRITAIN magazine May 2016

Roger Hubbard: If I Had A Dollar
Deep Mud Records - 2015

Roger Hubbard has assembled a first class
set of musicians for his latest disc: Jon Cleary
plays keys on five tracks, Richard Studholme
guitar on six and accordion on two, drums are
by Andy Newmark and bass by Jim Leverton.
Bruce Allen adds percussion effects on
three cuts and the rest is Roger himself on lead
vocals and all manner of guitars. The material
is a neat split of six originals and six older
blues from the likes of Leroy Carr and Kokomo
Arnold. Roger has a fine clear voice which is
particularly effective on a gentle tune like the title

track where Roger’s acoustic guitar is subtly
supported by accordion, bass and djembe.
‘See Me Crying’ is a sad ballad with appropriately
weeping slide and Hammond while
‘Sweet Old-Fashioned Way’ is a romantic song
with a slight Caribbean lilt as Roger’s acoustic
and Richard’s Spanish guitar weave their gentle
magic. ‘You’re Coming Back To Me’ is more
of a blues with Jon’s piano/organ and Richard’s
electric work and some backing vocals that add
gospel overtones to the song.
The band were clearly enjoying themselves
on this one as a second part closes the album!
Roger’s final writing contribution is ‘Walking
On Eggshells’ which is a country blues with
Roger’s acoustic supported only by Bruce’s
wire tray percussion though Roger also gets
credit for arranging two old classics – ‘Feel Like
My Time Ain’t Long’ and ‘Make Me A Pallet On
Your Floor’, the former a solo gospel piece with
Roger on steel guitar, the latter certainly more
secular in its lyrics as Roger’s lilting acoustic is
supported only by some gentle harp work.
There is plenty of variety on this lovely
album which, for this reviewer, is recommended

John Mitchell


(German Magazine) BLUES NEWS May 2016

(Translation by M. Prince)

You only have to cast an eye over the CV of this English singer and guitarist, born in Brighton in 1950, to surmise that Roger Hubbard can play the blues. Amongst other things, he has opened for Chicago legend, Muddy Waters. Plus the fact that, together with a string of pleasantly unobtrusively-used guest musicians, he has also demonstrated this on his predominantly acoustic album "If I Had a Dollar". A few doubts are aroused, at least at the beginning, because it kicks off with very gentle sounds - in other words with two harmonious and atmospheric ballads, which are followed by others as the record plays. Hubbard shows that he can also play blues with very good slide guitar featuring, amongst others, the gospel song for which Blind Willie Johnson is known, "You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond" and his wonderful interpretation of the Leroy Carr song, "Blues Before Sunrise". Certainly no bad thing is the fact that this Englishman's voice reminds you of the blues numbers played by Furry Lewis in his later years. Altogether then, a good album which also lacks a little of that extra bite, however, due to the high proportion of slow numbers. Anyone who generally prefers to take things a little more gently should give this album a listen.