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27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 13, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Guitarist Robben Ford has led parallel careers. There's the virtuosic white blues musician who jammed with Jimmy Witherspoon as a teenager, and there's the superclean session player and fusion-jazz cat of L.A. Express and Yellowjackets fame. These roles merge on Supernatural, produced by Susan Rogers (known for production work with Prince and Barenaked Ladies). Unfortunately, what comes out is a mediocre blue-eyed soul singer who has neither the voice nor the songs to match his guitar chops. Many of the tracks settle into listless studio funk grooves substituting polish for passion. Only when Ford reaches back to the blues for Paul Butterfield's "Lovin' Cup" does he crack a sweat. By that time, it's too late. --Rick Mitchell


Despite having played with the likes of Miles Davis, the Yellowjackets, and Tom Scott's L.A. Express, Robben Ford is still one of the unsung treasures of American music. Widely respected as a guitarist, Ford also possesses a classic singing voice in the tradition of such great pop vocalists as Todd Rundgren. Supernatural presents fully realized compositions where all the parts support the whole, not just lengthy blowing hung on chord changes. Ford does have a nice way with chords, and frequently, it sounds as if he's illuminating a new facet of familiar music. Nonetheless, guitar freaks should be prepared to be dazzled by Ford's commanding fretwork; he says more in a couple of economical choruses than many string-slingers say in a dozen. His cool sting on the deeply soulful "Hey, Brother" has the snarl of a Chicago bluesman. His rhythm work is equally impressive, as on "Nothing to Nobody," where he undergirds his pleading lyrics with a relentlessly climbing guitar riff. Also check out the wah-wah riff he burns (a la Hendrix's "Voodoo Child") on the title cut. Jimmy Earl contributes some massive-sounding bass, and Russell Ferrante, Ford's buddy in the Yellowjackets, is a plus on electric and acoustic pianos. Roger Kellaway also contributes a richly haunting string-quartet arrangement to Robben's "If." But this knockout disc is Ford's show all the way.

--- JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright © 2000, Milor Entertainment, Inc. -- From Jazziz

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: July 13, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Thumb
  • ASIN: B00000JMKP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,875 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Supernatural is Robben Ford's first pop album and conceptually is not unlike a typical Eric Clapton album which sprinkles a couple of blues tunes among a collection of ballads/rock/funk/gospel numbers. While there's nothing particularly unique about the mix of songs on this album, it's definitely a departure from the guitar-heavy albums Robben has made before.
The musicianship on the album is, naturally, top flight. And there are plenty of stellar guitar solos to escape into. My main struggle is that the songwriting doesn't keep pace. Over his career, Robben has penned some solid tunes (When I Leave Here from Handful of Blues is my personal favorite), but on balance, I'm partial to the covers he's done. While I don't dislike Supernatural, and it's grown on me somewhat after a dozen or so listenings, I haven't found myself particularly drawn to it either. (Because I'm a longtime fan of Robben's I gave this CD many more spins than I might have otherwise.)
Still I applaud him for trying new things -- especially string arrangements! I'd get bored if he were to release nothing but Blue Line-esque albums. (I must admit though, that my favorite song on Supernatural is the Blue Line-esque "Nothing to Nobody" -- not an example of Robben exploring new territories.) The songs on Supernatural are nice, but I can't imagine anyone rushing to cover any of them. Many of the songs are reminiscent of other aritists: I hear strains of Steely Dan and even later Steve Winwood, but there's nothing here that's bold or original.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Robben Ford's "Supernatural" is now 5 years old and is certainly aging well. My favorite track is the bluesy "Nothing to Nobody." Ford's juicy guitar weeps woefully, "The preacher on Sunday tells me I'm just another child of God; Lord, if you're there & if you care, could you see fit to answer my prayer?" "Water for the Wicked" was co-written with the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald and has plenty of that blue-eyed funk & soul. "Don't Lose Your Faith In Me" experiments with a clever string arrangement on a soft samba-like track. One of my personal favorites is the little-known David Batteau who co-wrote "Hey, Brother" with Ford that is a great track about trying to heal injured friendships. Another addictive track is the funky "Deaf, Dumb & Blind," "I couldn't see when you showed your love to me; I was thinking only of myself & missing all that light from you." Ford cuts a slow smoking groove on the Arthur Alexander classic, "You Got Me Knockin'" with Ricky Peterson's soulful Hammond B3 organ swelling the emotional wave. The set closes with Paul Butterfield's toe-tapper "Lovin' Cup." "Supernatural" is a good set with enough strong tracks to warrant a second listen five years later! Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "rukiddingme85044" on May 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Robben Ford is not only a guitar player. He's also an amazing writer. People need to wake up and notice these songs. These are real songs written by a real guy.
This album is the perfect "classic rock" album. If this album came out in 1979 it would have been huge. (Especially since it's got Michael MacDonald guest singing!). That's not to say this album is dated, it's not. It's lyrically very timely, but the music has a classic southern rock feel that reminds me of great old album oriented music from the 70s.
Water for the Wicked (with Michael MacDonald) is the perfect fusion of blues and soul rock. Supernatural is a great straight ahead blues rock track. If and Don't Lose Your faith in me both make me want to cry. And the dude can play the guitar like no one's business. I'd like to see him rock out with Santana (Rob Thomas [stinks]). If this had a good fast straight ahead rock instrumental, I'd been in my absolute glory!
This is absolute perfect Saturday night getting ready to go out music...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Johnson on October 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Robben Ford's latest work is but a testiment to his versatility as an artist and his willingness to show us a polished, softer and more soulful this listners humble opinion. Eariler works were a showcase for his masterful blues guitar solos and hard edged vocals, living the blues as the notes fly by! With Supernautral he is out on the edge again, not just with great guitar work but with cleaner soulful vocals. We get the hard edge with "Supernatural" and "Lovin' Cup", tenderness with "Don't Lose Your Faith In Me" and life's lessons learned with "Hey, Brother"...and many more great tracks! Do I recommend this bet! Order it, play it (a few dozen times) then go back and play "Tiger Walk", "SunRise", "Mystic Mile" and enjoy Robben Ford! My collection is missing one thing however...a live session! If you have not seen Robben Ford live, do so as soon as possible. He is incredible! I had the pleasure of seeing Robben Ford at the Coach House last month and heard for the first time a few of the tracks off the new CD...I bought it on the way out! RF...keep up the great studio work...also, produce something live fo us!
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