Guitarist, singer, and harmonica ace Robin Rogers' life was full of hard knocks and sad turns, along with a few delightful coincidences, and she earned the right to sing the blues the tough, old-fashioned way, but sadly, she lived for only a short time after gaining her widest recognition as a solo artist.
English Boy Wonders is the second studio album by the English progressive rock band, Big Big Train. It was released in 1997 by Giant Electric Pea. In February 2008, it was announced on Big Big Train's BlogSpot that English Boy Wonders was going to be re-recorded and partially re-mixed. It was re-released on the band's new record label, English Electric, on 1 December 2008. The re-release adds one track and changes the running order. Big Big Train are an English progressive rock band formed in Bournemouth in 1990. Until 2009, the band were mostly as a studio project band headed by Gregory Spawton and Andy Poole with changing line-ups and guest musicians. They have released eleven studio albums and three EPs.
Kim Simmonds' outlet for his electric blues-rock remains the on-again off-again Savoy Brown. Therefore he uses his solo albums, of which this is the third, to elaborate on the acoustic Delta blues generally ignored by his full-time outfit. Unlike Eric Clapton, who has consistently returned to this unplugged music throughout his career, Simmonds seems driven to explore his acoustic blues roots only since 1997. Simmonds uses this outlet to play predominantly self-penned material, with a few obscure covers thrown in. Accompanied by subtle piano, bass, and drums, the guitarist/vocalist commands center stage with his dusky yet emotional, talk-sung vocals, somewhat like J.J. Cale. Simmonds' guitar work is consistently classy, substituting the flash and boogie impulses of his extensive work as leader of Savoy Brown with a more thoughtful, measured playing that perfectly fits these terrific folk-blues tunes.
The libretto, written by Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi (the future Pope Clement IX), tells the story of saintly sacrifice: on his wedding night Alessio departs alone for the Holy Land in search of sanctity. Years later he returns unrecognised as a beggar to his family home, where his father, mother and wife still mourn him. A demon tempts Alessio to reveal his true identity and so end his family’s grief, but an angel keeps him on the sacred path. The dying Alessio leaves a letter explaining the truth and an angelic chorus bids his family to rejoice rather than mourn, since he has been received into heaven. This strange, solemn and elevated story is leavened with comic scenes in the commedia dell’arte vein, adding to the rich musico-dramatic variety of the entire opera.