Guest Author - Sue Sutherland-Wood
August 11, 2009 marks the release of the latest live album from Robben Ford entitled Soul On Ten recorded in San Francisco at The Independent. Robben Ford has long enjoyed a reputation as a hugely respected musician – both as a composer and as a guitar player – and if you love the blues, this is an album that deserves your full-on attention …
Although Robben’s guitar playing is both versatile and accomplished – he is equally at home with jazz fusion as well as the blues and has been eagerly sought out as a session player by artists as diverse as Miles Davis, Jimmy Witherspoon the late George Harrison, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan – his solo work tends not to be as well recognised except perhaps by other envious and more discriminating guitar players.
Ford’s playing is especially unique because of its mercury-like, hard-to-nail-down flavour, coloured deeply with intense passion; his delivery is also enriched by a broad musical background and intelligence and therefore nothing here – even on a live album – is a predictable regurgitation. All of the covers have a particular Ford magic that renders them a little more jazzy, a little more sophisticated and elevates the song to a whole other level that stretches far beyond his own “take” on them. His original compositions – and there are quite a few here, including two studio recordings – are esp brilliant
Spoonful is the catchy, swinging old Willie Dixon tune and should set the mood for pretty much anything. Ford is all over this one, clearly enjoying himself immensely. One thing I especially like about this track and the Soul on Ten album in general is that the cuts are generous and extended – over six minutes for this one alone and even then you’ll be hoping it won’t end ...
Supernatural is the opening track and sparkles with a funky veneer and playful guitar call and response. Ford’s vocals are understated and sensitive when necessary and his subsequent guitar solo is flawless. Just like you’d think. No wonder that Ford was cited as one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" in Musician Magazine . Enjoy!