http://www.bluesartstudio.com/NeueSeiten/ROBERT+LIGHTHOUSE.html - Link to feature story on Robert Lighthouse part 1 by Larry Benicewicz
http://www.bluesartstudio.com/NeueSeiten/ROBERT+LIGHTHOUSEpart2.html - Link to feature story on Robert Lighthouse part 2 by Larry Benicewicz
Blues Revue Magazine
ROBERT LIGHTHOUSE Deep Down in the Mud
The cover of Robert Lighthouse's new album, featuring a grainy photo of a trailer thrown on top of a car as only a hurricane could manage, gives the impression that Lighthouse is a New Orleans native. In fact, he hails from Sweden and is a longtime resident of Washington, D.C. But he has gigged with Marva Wright across the country, so he has as much reason as Bono or Melissa Etheridge to pen a post-Katrina rant against various state, local, and federal agencies.
As on his 1997 debut, Drive- Thru Love, Lighthouse filters the power of the blues through his one-man band of Delta guitar, harp, and hi-hat. He pays tribute to another great solo bluesman, Dr. Isaiah Ross, offers up some obscure covers by blues giants (Muddy Water's "Champagne and Reefer," Willie Dixon's "Meet Me in the Bottom"), and takes Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic" back to the work farm. Lighthouse has been an unsung hero among sidemen for two decades, but he clearly knows that he has what it takes: It takes balls to open an album with two Robert Johnson standards alongside two originals.
The title track won't tell you anything you don't already know about the Katrina disaster, but, after all, you don't listen to the blues to learn things; you listen to hear what you already know articulated, in this case with a decidedly Dylanesque scope and meter. Lighthouse's other original, "Stuck in the Mud," doesn't strain as hard for the truth, and with his thick accent, it's difficult to decipher the lyrics. But it sure sounds like some crazy shit went down.
Baltimore Blues Society Review of Robert Lighthouse' Deep Down in the Mud
This local favorite’s second album on Wayne Kahn’s Right on Rhythm imprint is akin to the content of its predecessor, Drive Thru Love. It contains more covers of his main influences (Robert Johnson, Dr. Ross, Elmore James, and Jimi Hendrix). The first eight tunes are performed solo acoustically while the last five tracks are performed electrically with bassist Tom Kirk and drummer Mike Sedgely. There are two originals in the 13 song collection: "Stuck in the Mud," a jeremiad in the style of pre-WW II Delta masters, and the harrowing title track inspired by Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of the Big Easy. However, "Deep Down in the Mud" is not blues or Nawlins R&B. It is a folk song of social commentary in the tradition of Woody Guthrie. To his credit, Lighthouse avoids being tendentious by blasting the ineptitude of the mayor as well the Federal Government. Its personal meaning to Lighthouse is further evidenced by the inclusion of the acerbic lyrics in the liner notes. The fiery funk of Parliament/Funkadelic George Clinton’s "Red Hot Mama" is the chief anomaly among the covers; strangely enough, he also covers Elmore James’ "Red Hot Mama" in standard fashion. Chicago legends Muddy Waters’ "Champagne and Reefer," Howlin’ Wolf’s "Meet Me in the Bottom,"and Magic Sam’s "All Your Love" are also covered. The acoustic tracks feature his deft picking, ethereal slide, raucous harp, and dark, husky vocals while the electric tunes, recorded at the Zoo Bar, rock hard. Despite the quality of the music herein, some fans unfamiliar with Lighthouse may have a problem with the dual acoustic/electric format, but this won’t matter to longtime fans who bought Drive Thru Love.
author:Thomas J. Cullen III
inabluemood.blogspot.com review - Ron Weinstock - DC Blues Society
Robert Lighthouse's Blues For New Orleans
Robert Lighthouse is a Swedish native (real name Palinic) who settled in the Washington DC area about two decades ago and has established himself as an important part of the blues scene in the Mid-Atlantic. He has busked on the streets and played a variety of clubs. His regular weekday gig at the late club City Blues was a local institution. Today he plays a solo gig weekly at a club Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, and plays band gigs with his trio at various bars and clubs. Wayne Kahn, a champion of D.C.’s music scene recorded Robert and issued Lighthouse’s first album, Drive-Thru Love, which received considerable local and international acclaim. Now he has issued on his Right on Rhythm label, the follow-up album of location recordings, Deep Down in the Mud, which includes solo selections recorded at Chief Ike’s and band cuts recorded at D.C.'s Zoo Bar (The Oxford Tavern located across from the National Zoo). Robert has developed a distinctive style from a variety of influences including Muddy Waters, Dr. Ross and several others so that when he does Robert Johnson’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down and Preachin’ the Blues, his attack lacks the more percussive approach of Johnson and most imitators, and has a more flowing approach that is evocative of Furry Lewis. His original Stuck in the Mud and Dr. Ross’ Turkey Leg Woman are fine performances in a style suggestive of Dr. Ross, although his rendition of Cat’s Squirrel, Dr. Ross’ treatment of the Catfish Blues theme also shows a bit of Muddy Waters influence. The title track is not a blues, but a protest social commentary song about Katrina and the government’s inadequate response. The trio cuts include Lighthouse’s laconic rendition of Elmore James’ Red Hot Mama, totally reworking the melody, a nice cover of Magic Sam’s All Your Love, an understated treatment of Wolf’s Meet Me in the Bottom and an unusual piece of funk, a rendition of George Clinton’s Red Hot Mama. Lighthouse also has an attraction to Jimi Hendrix's music and included is a take on Spanish Castle Magic, but this somewhat lengthy rock performance I found somewhat less compelling than some of his prior Hendrix covers. Still, overall this album is an impressive follow-up release and illustrates why he maintains a loyal following in the DC area. This can be purchased at www.rightonrhythm.com or cdbaby.com
CMG Review By Michael Macey
Deep down in the Mud from bluesman Robert Lighthouse is a collection of mostly covers by the likes of blues legends Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Elmore James, as well as George Clinton and Jimi Hendrix. Lighthouse, who is originally from Sweden and whose real name is Robert Palinic, has a firm grasp on the American blues tradition, and his masterful skills on guitar capture the feel and authenticity of the Delta. On the Robert Johnson tunes Last Fair Deal Gone Down and Preachin’ the Blues, he does fingerpicking and bottleneck slide, sounding similar in technique to Chris Smither or Jorma Kaukonen. He approaches the majority of the acoustic tunes in the same fashion, with slight variations in style throughout. His originals, Stuck in the Mud and Deep down in the Mud are Muddy Waters and Woody Guthrie influenced respectively. The former, a slower number with slightly overdriven harmonica, has that vintage blues sound of an older recording, giving it an authentic feel that makes it sound like a period piece. On his cover of Waters’ Champagne and Reefer, you can hear the similarities in the basic structure of the tunes. The title track is a political folk blues about the plight of New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina. Lighthouse takes the Bush administration, among others, to task for their ineptitude in the handling of the disaster, as well as the greedy profit mongers who used the situation to excessively line their pockets. On the electric side there are two songs called Red-Hot Mama. One is an Elmore James tune, and the other one is a cover of a Funkadelic song. There's a 7:45 version of Spanish Castle Magic where Lighthouse gets to display his guitar prowess to good effect. Willie Dixon's Meet Me in the Bottom is rockin' blues in the tradition of the Muddy Waters classic Can't Be Satisfied.
As an interpreter of the blues, Lighthouse does an outstanding job. He captures the essence of the music he covers, staying as true to the original sound as possible. As a songwriter, he shows he's steeped in the tradition of the American South, as well as demonstrating a proclivity for social commentary. On Deep Down in the Mud, Lighthouse offers up a loving tribute to the blues, as well as a few modern touches that show he's also in tune with the times. It's one man's effort at keeping the blues alive, and quite a good effort at that.