“First, ‘ya got Marty playin’ on piano, B3, guitar, tenor and ‘down ta ‘da bone’ baritone sax, plus, he got that smooth vocal thing, too. He understands relaxin’ the music, but he got the hell-i-fied AND the sanctified soul too, and you can hear all them reflections of the music he loves.” —Mack Rebennack (Dr. John), from the liner notes.
Smooth Sailin’ provides a road map for anyone looking for contemporary blues music’s southern roots. 13 vibrant tracks written or co-written by Marty Grebb present a seamless blend of his blues and R&B grooves with country, gospel, and pop music. Standouts include the rock-tinged “High Wire Walker,” the languid “Mississippi Muddy Water,” and the deceptively relaxed and polished “On the Lookout.” Bolstered by a top-notch supporting cast, Smooth Sailin’ also features “Soul Mate,” a swampy, roots-rock duet with Bonnie Raitt.
Producers John Porter and Marty Grebb provide a detailed production in which single elements—Rick Braun’s trumpet, a guitar line by Taj Mahal or Steve Cropper—effectively color the arrangements and complement Grebb’s always soulful singing. With Marty’s fluid piano licks over funky left hand bass lines, a tight rhythm section and high-steppin’ horn arrangements, Smooth Sailin’ is the ultimate contemporary blues road trip across America.
Born September 2, 1946 in Chicago, Marty Grebb is best known for his work with Bonnie Raitt. However, he’s also cut sessions with Leon Russell, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Willie Nelson, Otis Rush, Rosanne Cash, and many others. He started as a kid, playing behind The Dells, then Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield. He hit the charts in 1967 with The Buckinghams and later wound up with The Fabulous Rhinestones. Grebb made his first Telarc appearance in 1998 on Maria Muldaur’s Southland of the Heart. (concordmusicgroup. com)