Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
THE LUCKIEST MAN
Stony Plain Recording Co.
The Guitarist’s Guitarist Rides The Blues Train and Gets Off at Soulville.
My trusty I-Phone has done it again by finding this wonderful 12 track slice of pure damn righteous Rhythm, Blues and S.O.U.L…….with a side order of Blue Note Jazz too; without me even asking……such is the power of the ‘random button’.
I swear I thought that this was a George Benson album when the liquefied electric guitar of Ronnie Earl himself flowed from the car speakers on opening track Ain’t That Lovin’ You? and when Miss Diane Blue sexily purrs her lyrics out from the very bottom of her heart; yet again I knew I was onto another winner.
To all intents and purposes Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters are a 5 piece bar band; but from the photo on the inner sleeve and the list of Guest Musicians they are a very ‘fluid’ band indeed.
There are many things to like about this album; but first and foremost is Earl’s majestic way with a guitar……be it on the slow and sultry So Many Roads or the funky Southside Stomp when he duets with Dave Lamina on Hammond B3 or especially the Southern Gospel of Never Gonna Break My Faith he makes that guitar not just gently weep but wail and cry to the sky too, as Diane Blue sings her little heart out!
Once you get past the amazing guitar playing; there is Miss Diane Blue herself……gulp……swoon…..what a voice this lady has; not a million miles away from the late lamented Sharon Jones but with her very own distinctive singing style; and in my humble opinion under used here as she comes into her own though on the swinging Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me) and the Rev’d Gary Davis tune Death Don’t Have No Mercy which very nearly won the award of Favourite Song.
But this is very much a ‘guitar album’ very much in the vein of the Blue Note albums I own and; dare I say it…..BB KING.
Earl and the Broadcasters are quite sublime on late night instrumentals like Long Lost Conversation and their soulful strut on You Don’t Know What Love Is; but Earl really, really showcases his talents on Sweet Miss Vee and both Howlin’ Blues Southside Stomp; which are both exactly what it says on the tin.
THE LUCKIEST MAN is actually dedicated to the late Jim Mouradian, bass player and guitar maker who gets his very own track Jim’s Blues which reminded me of a George Harrison instrumental that I used to love; but can’t remember the name.
Then there is Blues For Magic Sam; a Blues Jam featuring some wonderful Hammond again; but it’s Earl’s sublime guitar playing against a backdrop of two Soulful saxophones and a spine tingling bass that makes this my favourite 5 and a half minutes here.
So, who actually is Ronnie Earl? Well, now I’ve finally read the Press Release this is his 25th album and he has played alongside (ACTUALLY alongside) BB King, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan plus a score of other legends……and here I am only discovering his music in 2018.
If you like the work of any of those legendary names, you are absolutely going to adore this album.
Released 16th February 2016