Of all the players who worked with Muddy Waters's band there are only a few who are still vital enough to continue exploring the possibilities of the blues. One is Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, who played guitar with Waters and has had his own successful career under his own name. But Margolin has mostly stayed with the Chicago-style blues and paying lively homage to his mentors. But now the guitarist has switched from Alligator Records to the Blind Pig label, and Margolin's new album, HOLD ME TO IT, is flavored with the fat back of southern-fried blues rock. A resident of Greensboro, North Carolina, for the past decade, Margolin has built a power trio with bassist Tad Walters and drummer Wes Johnson, and the band takes off like a couple of good old boys on a Friday night bender for the set's opening "All You Left Behind," with Margolin's agile slide playing as hot as white lightnin'. The roadhouse ruckus continues on "Slam 'em Down" and the lascivious jump number "Stick Out Your Can." But Margolin has more to offer than dance-party fare. With crying vocals and slide guitar, the songwriter salutes the long line of legends now gone on "Mean Old Chicago." As if continuing this consideration of life's temporary nature, Margolin goes solo for the lovely and dark original "No Consolation" and then is joined by his sister, Sherry Margolin, on piano for the instrumental balm of "Consolation." The set ends with two other guests -- Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, who coproduced the set with Margolin, on harp and Muddy Waters's son, Big Bill Morganfield, whose debut disc Margolin produced earlier this year, on guitar and vocals -- joining Margolin for an acoustic version of Joe Turner and Pete Johnson's "Wee Baby Blues." The song brings the set full circle, illustrating that Margolin not only plays the blues, he also understands them both in his head and his heart.