Roberts' latest CD, Burnin' Love, opens with the title cut, a funky original that showcases the bluesman's husky voice and smooth vocal style. Roberts' singing--plusher than Little Milton's but not as glitzy as Taylor's--comes out of the soul bag, but never leaves the blues behind. On "Couldn't See the Tears for the Rain," Robert's hard-driving guitar licks are right up front, buoyed by hefty horn lines from Rusty Smith and Scott Adair. "The Next Time," a ballad, allows him to stretch out as a guitarist while keeping his voice soft and vulnerable. And "I've Got Troubles" reaches deep into the Memphis sounds of O.V. Wright, while his guitar work has the feel of Otis Rush. The good time shuffle, "Dirty Old Man," features Bob Margolin on slide guitar and organist Skeeter Brandon, both of whom respond with raunchy solos when Roberts calls them dirty old men. For blues fans, covers of Latimore's bedroom ballad "Let's Straighten It Out" and Bobby Womack's sweet "I'm in Love" add a touch of familiarity. But they aren't really necessary because Roberts is right on target with Burnin' Love, both as a songwriter and performer. This used to be considered chitlin'-circuit soul blues, but because of its contemporary feel, this music has now crossed over to a broader audience. In other words, Roberts belongs on the blues festival circuit.