Robben Ford: Soul on Ten

RobbenFord_SoulOnTenBlues, rock and jazz guitarist captured live

It’s hard to believe, but guitarist Robben Ford is marking his 40th year as a working musician, having moved to San Francisco to form his first band in 1969. Stints with Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Tom Scott’s L.A. Express eventually led to the founding of the Yellowjackets and a solo career. Ford’s early work in the blues gave way to jazz sets with Miles Davis and the forging of a progressive sound that melds blues, jazz and rock. This latest release features eight tracks taped live at San Francisco’s Independent, and two more recorded live in the studio.

Ford and his backing trio of bass, drums and B-3 organ work through severa; catalog favorites, including the roaring guitar instrumental “Indianola” on which Toss Panos’ drums drive as Ford brilliantly intertwines rock and blues leads with jazz chordings. Ford’s guitar shows plenty of muscle on Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful,” and the straight blues medley of Elmore James’ “Please Set a Date” and Jimmy Reed’s “You Don’t Have to Go” give both Ford and organist Neal Evans a chance to show off their licks.

Ford revisits “Nothing to Nobody” here for a third time; originally released on 1999’s Supernatural, and played live on 2004’s Center Stage, this eleven-minute take makes room for some funky solos by Ford, Evans and bassist Travis Carlton. Ford recalls the rock-soul sounds of San Francisco’s ballrooms with wah-wah pedal workouts on “Supernatural” and “There’ll Never Be Another You.” The two studio tracks that close the CD sound out of place, and could have better been replaced by more tracks from the gig. As it is, the titles only reach back to 1999, though the blues covers give a feel for Ford’s earlier roots. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Listen to Soul on Ten
Robben Ford’s Home Page
Robben Ford’s MySpace Page

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.