Somebody Loan Me a Dime

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Somebody Loan Me a Dime
Somebody Loan Me a Dime.jpg
Studio album by
ProducerBruce Iglauer
Fenton Robinson chronology
Monday Morning Boogie and Blues
Somebody Loan Me a Dime
I Hear Some Blues Downstairs

Somebody Loan Me a Dime is a 1974 studio album by blues singer and guitarist Fenton Robinson, his debut under the Alligator Records imprint. Blending together some elements of jazz with Chicago blues and Texas blues, the album was largely critically well received and is regarded as important within his discography. Among the album's tracks is a re-recording of his 1967 signature song, "Somebody Loan Me a Dime", which has become a blues standard. It has been reissued multiple times in the United States and Japan, including with bonus tracks.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau(B+)[2]

The album overall received good reception by critics and is described by the 1993 The Big Book of Blues as "essential listening."[3][4][5] Allmusic in its review characterized the album as "one of the most subtly satisfying electric blues albums of the '70s".[6] New York based WGMC blue radio host Jeff Harris describes the album as "one of the era’s true masterpieces", Robinson's "pinnacle".[7] Critic Robert Christgau offers some dissent; though he graded the album a B+ overall, indicated that Robinson's voice (though well utilized) lacked power, his songs lacked hooks (aside from "Gotta Wake Up") and his music was "stylish and thoughtful" but restrained.[8] Allmusic's Bill Dahl, by contrast, praised Robinson for the power of several composition and focused particularly on his voice, a "deep, rich baritone [that] sounds more like a magic carpet than a piece of barbed wire," indicating that Robinson "speaks in jazz-inflected tongues, full of complex surprises."[6] Harris, too, pays particular attention to Robinson's voice, which he describes as "a thing of beauty, a deep, rich baritone that glides along and is a perfect counterpoint to his elegant guitar work."[7]


Among the more notable tracks on the album was a new recording of the title song, which Robinson had originally released in 1967 for the Palos label (and which had become a hit for Boz Scaggs in 1969, under the title "Loan Me a Dime" without composition credit for Robinson).[4] The song is regarded as Robinson's signature piece and went on to become a blues standard, according to 1997's Encyclopedia of Blues being "part of the repertoire of one out of every two blues artists."[9] The title song serves as the background music during the opening scenes of the movie The Blues Brothers, a movie responsible for revitalizing Aretha Franklin's career.[10]

Jeff Harris identifies as among Robinson's influences on the album B.B. King and T-Bone Walker, "but with a strong jazzy inflection and plenty of grit".[7] All About Jazz, concurring with those influences, places the musician on "the smoother side" of the genre of Chicago blues with some elements of Texas blues.[11]

Release history[edit]

The album was Robinson's debut for the Alligator Records label, the first of three for the label.[4] (For his second, I Hear Some Blues Downstairs, Robinson would be nominated for a Grammy Award.[4]) Prior to his contract with Alligator, Robinson had encountered difficulties finding a studio home for his music.[12] The album has been subsequently reissued a number of times by Alligator in the United States and internationally by Japanese labels Pony Canyon and P-Vine. The 2001 P-Vine re-issue includes two bonus tracks: "I Hear Some Blues Downstairs" (4:16) and "As the Years Go Passing By" (4:49).[13]

Track listing[edit]

Except where otherwise noted, all tracks composed by Fenton Robinson

  1. "Somebody Loan Me a Dime" – 2:54
  2. "The Getaway" – 4:17
  3. "Directly from My Heart to You" (Little Richard) – 4:17
  4. "Going to Chicago" (Traditional) – 3:46
  5. "You Say You're Leaving" (Big Joe Williams) – 3:15
  6. "Checking on My Woman" – 3:23
  7. "You Don't Know What Love Is" – 3:50
  8. "I've Changed" – 4:23
  9. "Country Girl" (Rudy Toombs) – 4:55
  10. "Gotta Wake Up" – 4:25
  11. "Texas Flood" (Larry Davis, Don Robey, Joseph Wade Scott) – 4:12

Use in popular culture[edit]

The title track can be overheard at the beginning of the 1980 film, The Blues Brothers as Jake Blues (John Belushi) is being escorted from his cell upon the day of his release from prison and parole.



  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ Santelli, Robert (1993). The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Penguin. p. 345. ISBN 0-14-015939-8.
  4. ^ a b c d Tomko, Gene (2006). "Robinson, Fenton". In Edward M. Komara. Encyclopedia of the Blues: A - J. Routledge. p. 835. ISBN 0-415-92699-8.
  5. ^ Cochran, Robert (2005). Our Own Sweet Sounds: A Celebration of Popular Music in Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press. p. 58. ISBN 1-55728-793-7.
  6. ^ a b Somebody Loan Me a Dime at AllMusic
  7. ^ a b c Harris, Jeff (2007-08-07). "Fenton Robinson: Somebody Loan Me A Dime". Big Road Blues. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide. Da Capo Press. p. 326. ISBN 0-306-80409-3.
  9. ^ Herzhaft, Gérard; Harris Herzhaft; Paul Harris; Brigitte Debord; Jerry Haussler; Anton J. Mikofsky (1997). Encyclopedia of the Blues. Brigitte Debord (trans.). University of Arkansas Press. p. 278. ISBN 1-55728-452-0.
  10. ^ "Aretha Franklin", Black,
  11. ^ "Fenton Robinson". All About Jazz. 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  12. ^ McHugh, Rich; J. P. Anderson; Chris Barsanti; Mark Ellwood (2003). Chicago. Rough Guides. p. 255. ISBN 1-85828-755-3.
  13. ^ Somebody Loan Me a Dime (Japanese Bonus Tracks) at AllMusic