16 August 1951 (age 69)
New York, New York, United States
Eric Bibb (b. 1951) is an American blues singer and guitarist, based in London, England, who has made his career largely in Europe.
Bibb was born on 16th August 1951 in New York into a musical family. His father, Leon Bibb, is a trained singer who sang in musical theatre and made a name for himself as part of the 1960s New York folk scene. His uncle was the world-famous jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Family friends included Pete Seeger, Odetta, and actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, Bibb'sgodfather.
Bibb was given his first steel-string guitar when he was seven years old. Growing up surrounded by talent, he recalls a childhood conversation with Bob Dylan, who, on the subject of guitar playing advised the eleven-year-old Bibb to "Keep it simple, forget all that fancy stuff".
At sixteen years old, Bibb's father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his television talent show Someone New. Bibb's early musical heroes were from his father's band, and included Bill Lee (father of director Spike), who appeared on Bibb's album Me To You, years later.
In 1969, Bibb played guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company at St Mark's place in New York, and went on to study Psychology and Russian at Colombia University, but at the age of nineteen he left for Paris, where a meeting with guitarist Mickey Baker focused his interest in blues guitar. When he later moved to Sweden, Bibb found a creative environment which took him back to Greenwich Village during the heyday of the folk revival. Settling in Stockholm, Bibb immersed himself in pre-war blues and continued to write and perform.
The album Good Stuff was released in 1997, and led to Bibb signing to the British based Code Blue label. Eric's only release on Code Blue was Me to You, featuring appearances from some of Bibb's personal heroes in Pops and Mavis Staples, and Taj Mahal (who also worked with Bibb on the Grammy-nominated children's record, Shakin' a Tailfeather). The album furthered Bibb's international reputation and was followed by tours of the U.K., U.S.A., Canada, France, Sweden, and Germany.
In the late 1990s Bibb joined forces with his then manager, Alan Robinson, to form Manhaton Records, in Britain. The albums Home to Me (1999), Roadworks (2000), and Painting Signs (2001) followed, as did another Opus 3 release, Just Like Love.
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