Roland Malines

Les Amis du Blues (review published in Blues & co # 16 (June-August 2001)
Feelings from the heart of a generous music !
(review of the "Festival Blues Sur Seine 2000" CD)

"Blues sur Seine" snakes through the Mantes community… what a pretty, live music ! Roland Malines starts it with his acoustic blues, with a typical french flavour, making the roots his own personal expression where lyrics run "cool" to the rhythm of the meander of the music.

Pierre Jobin

Le Cri du Coyote (February/march 2001)

Roland Malines
Blues Standards, Finger-Picking Style

It is a dangerous exercise to try and do it all by yourself like frenchman Roland Malines : to sing, play guitar, dobro, and arrange too, it's hard to succeed… but he does ! His country-blues is bare but not simplistic, his guitar playing refuses virtuosity demonstrations but is still very efficient : it swings, it's nice, and it serves the music. The songs are covered with a personal touch, even though the genre has its musts ( " Hesitation Blues " for instance is not too far from Ralph Mc Tell's version). The album title, BLUES STANDARDS FINGER PICKING STYLE, is no fraud with covers from Rev. Gary Davis, Robert Johnson, Son House, Big Bill Broonzy, Jimmy Cox, Big Joe Williams.

He promised his next CD will be only compositions, we're looking forward to it and wish him success with this one. As far as quality is concerned, we do not worry !

Rollin' & Tumblin' january 2001

Roland Malines : Blues Standards, Finger-Picking Style.

No original composition on this 1st album, but such an appropriation of standards where the warmth of the voice contends with the mastering of the instrument that Roland seems to re-create these songs yet very well known already.
The greatest artists today are amazed by his guitar skills.
An album to make you feel good..

Blues & Co # 14 (January-February 2001)

Malines. This name should ring a bell to assiduous readers of the blues press. Sure, Rene Malines, one of the leading figures from our excellent friend and fellow Travel in Blues. René, one of the most erudite among the blues enthusiasts in Paris. Rene always comfortable in his cowboy boots with his bantering from Marseilles, his quiff always valiant when coordinating a jam. But no, he doesn't have a CD out, but elder brother Roland just did.

It's called "Blues Standards & Finger Picking Style" and the result is excellent. Roland Malines turns out to be one of the best french specialists of the Finger Picking style. Some party poopers may wrongly think that this covers album is of no interest. Wrong. Of course, songs like "One bourbon, one scotch, one beer", "Crossroads", or "I'm a king bee" have very little chances to appear in the Hit Machine of M6 TV channel hosted by 2 ghosts with the I.Q. of an oyster. Sure, mythical bluesmen such as Robert Johnson, Slim Harpo, and J.B Lenoir have no chance to ever get sugary Michel Drucker unroll a red carpet to dedicate them a tribute show yet more than deserved.

This is why Roland Malines wanted to continue the works of pairs he worships, yet bringing a new freshness, a new breath and a new youthfulness to these eternal classics of the devil's music. It can't be said that Roland is a new comer as far as Finger-Picking is concerned. A true music lover who achieved the entrance examition to the conservatory jazz class, his encounter with Jean-Michel Caradec will be preponderant to perfect this style dear to Marcel Dadi. Yes, the man is an exceptional musician who doesn't just play guitar as a dilettante between 2 pastis on the Old Port or 2 games of bowls on the Canebiere.

This Blues standards CD will provide very nice moments, looking forward to his next production of french originals for the man had his share of real-life experiences and a lot to tell.

The lucky ones who attented the Mantes-la-Jolie Blues sur Seine contest fell on their butts. Cause when Roland Malines sings the blues in the language of Moliere with his warm voice from the deep South (of France) one can hear the bubbles in the ale that know for sure they are soon going to be swallowed.

To finish this review, my advice is that you listen to the only song in french, Travailler c'est trop dur, a much more interesting version than that of this curly sheep who, in a wailing bleat claimed to have the heart of a rock&roller !

Serge Sciboz

"Soul Bag" # 161 (winter 2001)

(About the Fondation de La Poste award at the Blues sur Seine festival) : "…Roland Malines won. An undisputable selection…"
Jacques Périn

Roland Malines pays his dues to classical blues with an all acoustic CD devoted to cover the greats, from Big Bill Broonzy to Robert Johnson via Gary Davis, Slim Harpo, Big Joe Williams and J.B. Lenoir. Everyone knows his beautiful warm voice and his guitar skills […]
Christophe Mourot

Blues Magazine # 19 (jannuary 2001)
Here is a good self-produced album by Roland Malines, a staunch guy from Marseille who masters the finger picking technics and sings well enough blues standards as suggested by the CD title. From Crossroads to Ramblin' On My Mind via I'm A King Bee and Mojo Boogie that he beautifully rounds up, alone with a Dobro or a Martin.

Christian Le Morvan

Benoît Felten (Planet Harmonica) about Roland's show at the Blues Sur Seine 2000 festival :

"About Roland Malines, I noticed with delight a adaptation of the folk blues tradition from the songsters who made the 60's revival in the USA. It consists in laughing (and making the audience laugh) at one's own misery, which gives some blues both alive and funny yet not disconnected from reality. One can feel the blues truth appear around idle lyrics. The chat between his songs that put them into one story made this one of the nicest and most different shows of these 2 weeks."

Maria Rita Gauttieri-Tiergo, painter:

"Magnificent blues from the greatest tradition. Roland Malines has a very captivating beautiful voice that takes you further into another universe ."

Jeff Navennec, musician :
"To play with Roland is like having a red carpet unrolled for you. He makes you some sort of musical mattress where you can rest yourself. You can try any fantasy you wish, he's always there supporting you, following you anywhere you go. He knows music so well, probably because of all his years with jazz. I don't know anyone I can play with like Roland. He's the only one. "

Keith Brown, an african american country blues musician (in a letter to Roland's brother René):

>La Gazette de Greenwood # 13 (november 1999)

There is blues you can listen to with only half an ear, the one you can dance to, the one they play at a party, the one that goes with pain or joy, and then there is the blues to taste with an attentive ear. Roland Malines' record belongs to this category. A natural voice and an acoustic guitar playing an apparently simple picking are the ingredients of this 13 songs album drawing from repertoires as different as those of Big Bill Broonzy, Gary Davis, Robert Johnson, Big Joe Williams, J.B. Lenoir, Slim Harpo, Amos Milburn, Jimmy Cox !

Roland's tour de force is to have been able to cover these masters without barely copying them but adapt them to his own style. A style that Etienne Guillermond from Travel in Blues compared to the one of Mississippi John Hurt. And this is true, they have so much in common : no technical tour de force here, but a pure and warm playing, a voice that sings instead of shouting. Just like with Mississippi John Hurt, this ostensible simplicity hides an absolutly subtle guitar playing. This is what Roland's blues sounds like. Despite the variety of songs and their origins, there's a geat unity in this album that one listens to from beginning to end without ever getting tired of this guitar and this voice. This is the perfect example of the strength of an acoustic guitar : alone with one voice, it can create a musical universe that takes you from melancoly to swinging boogie via a cajun ballad or a ragtime, with a stroll through Mississippi Delta and Piemont. This record should please blues and/or acoustic guitar lovers. The kind of production that's getting hard to find in record shops today.
Uncle Lee
La Gazette de Greenwood

"Travel In Blues" # 21 (October 1998)

Roland Malines

We told you about Roland Malines in a previous issue. He's back, alone with one guitar. No need to say we have a thing for this artist that regularly pays us a visit since our blues society started. Roland mostly stands out by his guitar skills. I particularly like his finger picking because contrarily to other musicians who will go for virtuosity, he'd rather privilege silences, reserve, insinuation. It gives his music a particular freshness, especially in the slow pieces. Just listen to his version of Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out. Another one of his qualities : he doesn't just reproduce songs he learnt but gives his own rendition of them, like for instance with Slim Harpo's I'm A King Bee. Among other nice moments with this album, I really liked Crossroads, Hesitation Blues, Cocaine Blues as well as Piccolo Ragtime Blues. If you get a chance, why don't you lend an ear to this record ?
Philippe Sauret

"Bluesboarder" # 46 (July 1998)

With these 13 songs, Roland sets himself to the difficult exercice of a simple bare country blues album. I say difficult because the rural mood must be present, at least a little, but mostly because of the feeling the artist must be filled with at covering such songs. This bare blues beautifully serves his voice close enough to Bill Deraime's in its expression. His agile fingers do a great job in songs that need dexterity ("Piccolo Ragtime blues") as well as in folk blues style ("Travailler c'est trop dur"). J.B.Lenoir's "Mojo Boogie" sees Roland get a little excited (who thought he wouldn't ?), his fingerpicking's superb on "Hesitation Blues". And no problem either with the bottleneck, you know, this little tube he plays slide with on a couple of songs.

Dominique Bouffart

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