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Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters Have a Rocket in their Pocket for 'Father's Day' (REVIEW)

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Dec 12, 2015 06:24 PM EST

It's Father's Day in December as 2014 "Blues Guitarist of the Year," Ronnie Earl, leads his longtime Broadcasters on their ninth Stony Plain Records release. Earl hasn't had a horn section for years. Make that decades. The slide-pump punch of rampaging horns adds immeasurably to these 13 tracks. Guest vocalist Michael Ledbetter, descended from the legendary Lead Belly himself, acquits himself admirably as does second guest vocalist Diane Blue. For the obligatory instrumental, Earl chases down "Moanin'," the surefire 1958 Bobby Timmons funky-butt favorite he wrote for Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.

Earl tackles two Otis Rush classics ("It Takes Time" and "Right Place Wrong Time") as well as a deuce from the pen of Magic Sam ("What Have I Done Wrong" and "All Your Love"). BB King's "I Need You So Bad," Van McCoy's "Giving Up" and Brook Benton's "I'll Take Care Of You" shows he's equally at home with R'n'B soul as well as the blues. Dig his hotshot cover of Fats Domino's "Every Night About This Time." He takes us to church to end things out on a spiritual note: the Rev. Thomas A Dorsey's "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" has been most famously covered by Elvis Presley. Here, Earl drips out sanctified notes worthy of an angel.

Recorded in Massachusetts, released on a Canadian label, Father's Day is even better than his last CD, Good News. This transplanted New Yorker, 62, has lived in New England for years. He's dedicated this to his dad, even including a shot of his dad reading a newspaper story about his son. Long estranged, Earl writes in the liner notes, "...we came to peace in the end. Don't ever give up on your family..."

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TagsRonnie Earl & The Broadcasters, REVIEW, Stony Plain Records, Lead Belly

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