- Audio CD (September 9, 2016)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Stony Plain Records
- ASIN: B01J3SJZM8
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,404 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Ronnie Earl's release Maxwell Street is named in honor of blues pianist and previous member of the Broadcasters David Maxwell and is a nod to Chicago’s Maxwell Street where blues musicians gathered to play outside for the Sunday market crowds. It confirms Ronnie Earl’s status as one of the most soulful blues/soul/jazz guitarists working today. Earl is a three-time Blues Award winner as Guitarist Of The Year working with his band of over 25 years.
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Top Customer Reviews
Here are my personal ratings for each track (in approximate order of preference and subject to change):
***** "Double Trouble" - a nearly twelve-minute deep exploration of the Otis Rush classic incendiary blues [Note that David Maxwell toured and recorded with Rush in the '90s after his stint with Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters]; Earl is phenomenal and Diane Blue's vocal is moving and desperately impassioned. A masterpiece.
***** "As the Years Go Passing By" - first recorded by Fenton Robinson, and then most notably by Albert King on Atlantic in 1969 (the single version of it that I bought), this is one of my all-time favorite songs. Superbly expressive playing by Ronnie, sympathetic organ work by Limina, and Diane Blue nails another vocal big-time.
***** "Kismet" - an original by Ronnie and Diane; a blues ballad that sounds like a classic in the making
***** "Elegy for a "Bluesman" - Dave Limina's lovely, elegant, slow piano-blues instrumental tribute to his Broadcaster predecessor David Maxwell.
***** "I've Got to Use My Imagination" - rare Ronnie Earl cover of a pop and soul hit (#1 soul and #4 pop by Gladys Knight & the Pips in early 1974); here, with Diane singing up a storm, it's transformed into a funky soul blues.
***** "Mother Angel" - the disc's opener (a Ronnie Earl original instrumental) is mellow and rhythmic, with fine soul-jazzy organ work by Limina
***** "In Memory of T-Bone" - Ronnie's easy-going, eloquent instrumental homage to T-Bone Walker, the ultra-influential electric blues guitar wizard who emerged in the 1940s and created, among so many other great ones, the all-time standard "Stormy Monday Blues," which this piece subtly recalls.
***** "Blues for David Maxwell" - Ronnie's own original Maxwell tribute is a simmering guitar and piano blues that really heats up in its second half, becoming quite emotionally intense.
**** and 1/2 stars: "Brojoe" - a Ronnie Earl-composed savory blues shuffle
*** "You Don't Know Me" - the 1956 Eddy Arnold country hit that Ray Charles revived brilliantly (after all, he was "The Genius"!) in 1962 during his country-soul period; unfortunately this version, at eight minutes, drags a bit, and Diane does not seem to be in command of it the way she is in her other four performances, which are all tremendous.
However, every one of his recordings delivers understated, classy and highly musical performances. This one is no exception.
Like a familiar old friend, it's always a pleasure to be hearing from Mr. Earl.