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Discovering the Blues

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 15, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This powerhouse set of live recordings from early in Robben Ford's distinguished career boasts solo-laden 10-minute-plus versions of B.B. King's "Sweet Sixteen" and John Lee Hooker's "It's My Own Fault." Ford, who has worked with Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, and George Harrison, plays surprisingly sweet, agile saxophone on Don Raye's jazz ballad "You Don't Know What Love Is." His voice--if still that of a very young man--is throaty and melodic on the King and Hooker cuts. But it's his guitar that takes centerstage. Owing heaps to electric bluesmen B.B., Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Albert King, and Mike Bloomfield, Ford's rich tone, deliberate lines, and tuneful bends were world-class even in 1972. --James Rotondi
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30
12:36
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5:43
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10:29
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8:50
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5
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3:34
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10:33
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8:25
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Avenue Records
  • ASIN: B0000033ZD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,469 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Philip Snyder on January 30, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This collection of old live cuts by Robben Ford is the first of two releases on Avenue Jazz's new Vault Classics label (the second is 1999's Sunrise). Recordings were culled from performances at the Ash Grove in Hollywood, and the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach (both in California) back in 1972. At the very green age of 20 or 21, Robben displays unbelievable ability on both guitar and sax. Though he would certainly improve over the years, his mastery of the guitar in particular should be painfully evident to even the most jaded listener. Tone; control; phrasing; technique; it's all there, albeit in its embryonic form.
Though there is one cut that sheds light on Robben's jazz side (You Don't Know What Love Is), the selections on this release focus almost exclusively on Robben playing the blues (thus the title!). Curiously most of the tracks chosen are slow blues. This is certainly not a horrible thing, but it does in my opinion make the pacing lag quite a bit (this is a 60 minute CD and 42 minutes are devoted to slow blues). Also, because this isn't a one off performance, but rather pieces of several performances, Robben starts two of these off with the very same lick (hey, the guy IS human)! All that aside, this is a great opportunity to hear vintage Ford playing live. I absolutely applaud Avenue Jazz for unearthing these gems and hope there're many more to come.

For those of you looking for details, the lineup Robben used was: Paul Nagle on keyboards, Stan Poplin on bass, and Jim Baum on drums. Times on the tracks are: Sweet Sixteen (12:33); You Drive A Hard Bargain (5:42); It's My Own Fault (10:28); You Don't Know What Love Is (8:49); My Time After Awhile (3:34); Raining In My Heart (10:33); and Blue & Lonesome (8:25).
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Format: Audio CD
I like to think of Robben Ford as the flip side of Jimi Hendrix. If Jimi hit you like a dump truck full of cement, Robben slices your soul like red hot piano wire. He's always in control, always perfectly phrased. He revs it up and slows it down with perfect precision. The sad thing is that most people like his later stuff with short solos and more cheezy songs. If you listen to a guitar player, why not listen to an album like this, or Robben in the Charles Ford band, where he lets loose? Robben is a blues guitar player. That means he's at the height of his powers playing straight blues like this, *not* cheezy jazz like Tiger Walk. Robben is truly, truly, one of the great all-time blues guitar players, as good as SRV. This is one of the only recordings that proves it.
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Format: Audio CD
I decided one day to buy this on a whim even though I never heard his stuff before. Boy am I glad I took that risk.
With A+ guitar playing like this, you'd think somebody would paint "Robben is God" on a building somewhere. I'd rank this CD right along with all of those blues-guitar masters like T-Bone Walker, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy. This album isn't just Robben showing off what he can do on the guitar; he also shows what he can do on the saxophone in the awesomely-done cover of "You don't know what Love is". Great hardcore blues; listen to it over and over.
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Format: MP3 Music
This is a great listening album but I found it to be a master class in blues guitar fills and brilliant solos. He was still full of that youthful energy and in love with the blues. His later work is heavily influenced with jazz and rock. This is the real stuff. There is something immediate and passionate here that must be the live energy. Let's face it, Crossroads is EC's most famous recording and it was live too. I have used this album as an important part of my studies of blues guitar. I don't think it has even been transcribed but that's okay, studying his playing is even better by ear. Don't forget to listen to Talk To You Daughter on a different album. That is a masterpiece that is required listening and study for any serious blues guitarist.
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By A Customer on September 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
You would have seen it coming. This guy is the most tasteful and enjoyable guitarist to listen to today. This is basic stuff compared to his current work. However, it is still a blast to listen to. I am buying everything by Ford.
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Format: Audio CD
First of all, disregard pfinegan's review. If you like tasteful blues, this is your ticket as a listener and player. I'm a huge Eric Clapton fan, and right about the time I felt I was good enough on the guitar to start tackling some of E.C.s blues tunes, my teacher told me about Robben Ford. I picked up this album and immediately shoved Clapton aside and began learning these tunes. I will admit, some of the songs get a little redundant; they're very long, he uses a lot of the same licks and changes, and just about every song is in the key of C. But these songs are perfect templates for learning the blues. He uses a lot of licks that can be somewhat easily figured out and incorporated into anyone's playing. His playing is just so smooth and tasteful and passionate, some of the songs almost bring me to tears, especially It's My Own Fault. Whether you're a player or just love to listen to the blues, a blues enthusiasts' collection surely wouldn't be complete without this album. This is definitly one of my desert island CDs.
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