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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stony Plain Records - Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Maxwell Street - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (September 9, 2016), Maxwell Street, from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and it's a scorcher! Opening with Mother Angel, a tight jazz influenced number featuring Ronnie Earl and Nicholas Tabarias on guitar, Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys and Jim Mouradian on bass. Slow blues, Elegy For A Bluesman is one of many beautifully executed tracks on this release. With subtle bottom and really nice piano and B3 by Limina, Earl takes it front and center with lush melodic guitar lead. Excellent! In Memory of T-Bone is a strong, T-Bone Walker "modeled" blues track with Earl interpreting T-Bone Walker's style and phrasing. With just a wisp of bass and drums and a carrier tune of keys, Earl just flat out plays the melody in fine style. Excellent! Diane Blue joins the mix for original track, Kismet, showing why she is the go to girl on many blues release. Her vocals are clean and powerful and a good balance for Earl's powerful dynamic style. Earl's emotional bends are pointed and precise, and his solo phrases succinct giving the track the sound of fine wine. Otis Rush's Double Trouble is certainly one of my favorite tracks on the release pushing the bar even higher with Blue's emotional vocals and Earl's incredible knack of squeezing every drop of sweat from his guitar. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, this track is stimulating from end to end. Excellent! R&B track made popular by Gladys Knight, Imagination, has a definite funky drive with a tight bass line and excellent vocals from Blue. Earl brings the pace down again on Blues for David Maxwell. Limina takes a long lush stroll on the piano leading up to Earl's incredibly soulful solo giving this track air for more than 8 minutes. Wow! On Eddy Arnold's jazz ballad, You Don't Know Me, Blue takes front and center again with strong support from Limina and Earl. There's plenty of room here for both Earl and Limina to take brief expressive solos of their own but this track is really all about Blue. Very nice! Kicking it up to a strong loping shuffle on Brojoe, Earl is back, front and center, with Limina on B3 pushing him all the way. Entress' tight drum work and walking bass work from Mouradian frame the work nicely with Earl shooting riff after riff. Smooth. Wrapping the release is Don Roby's ultra soulful, As The Years Go Passing By. This track has been given up by a lot of the best including Otis Rush, Albert King and Elvin Bishop and Earl's entry will certainly not go unnoticed. Blue handles the vocal lead with authority and Earl would be a certain candidate for top blues player today. This is an excellent closer for an excellent release!

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1 comment:

  1. Like all excellent blues rooted in the pains of life under the plantation slave system, Ronnie Earl and company express that pain with finesse and style. $Bluesman225