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Yes I See

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Album Review

For Yes I See (1961) — his second Elektra Records outing — Bob Gibson (guitar/banjo/vocals) returns the subject matter to comparatively traditional folk. Another significant disparity between this long-player and his label debut Ski Songs (1960) is the occasional shot of gospel, thanks in large part to the prominent — but never overbearing — vocals from Bessie Griffin & the Gospel Pearls. On one level, their influence — which is immediately evident in the call-and-response chorus of the opening title track "Yes I See" — adds an immediacy, urgency, and fervor. On yet another strata, it provides an earthier texture to "Motherless Children," "Daddy Roll 'Em," the mournful "Well, Well, Well," as well as the alternately jubilant updates of "You Can Tell the World" and "By and By." The latter trio are among those overhauled by Gibson and on-again/off-again partner Hamilton Camp. Of course at the heart of the project is the evidence of Gibson's abilities as a compelling storyteller. The standouts are numerous with the artist's interpretation of "Trouble in Mind," the moonshiner's anthem "Copper Kettle," as well as Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's "Springhill Mine Disaster,." Other Gibson/Camp inclusions worth noting are "Gilgarry Mountain (Darlin' Sportin' Jenny)" and the slightly Caribbean-flavored "Blues Around My Head (When the Sun Comes Up in the Mornin')." Gibson is joined throughout by an impressive support cast that includes Herbert O. Brown (banjo/bass), Tommy Tedesco (guitar), and legendary producer/arranger Robert "Bumps" Blackwell — whose résumé included work with Sam Cooke and Little Richard among countless others. He is given special credit on the rear of the original LP jacket "for his assistance." In 2008, after several decades out of print, Collectors' Choice Music issued Yes I See on compact disc, once again making the classic and venerable platter available to a new generations of folk music enthusiasts.


Born: 16 November 1931 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

While Bob Gibson's recordings may sound like run-of-the-mill folk to modern listeners, he played an important role in popularizing folk music to American audiences in the 1950s at the very beginning of the folk boom. His 12-string guitar style influenced performers like Gordon Lightfoot and Harry Chapin; he was a mainstay at one of the first established folk clubs in the U.S., the Gate of Horn in Chicago; and he wrote songs with Shel Silverstein and Phil Ochs, as well as performing in a duo with...
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Yes I See, Bob Gibson
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