Review : Robben Ford – Wirral – 10 Nov 2006

Posted on: Sunday, Nov 12, 2006

Robben Ford
Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead: 10/11/06

The second legendary name of the first week of the International Guitar Festival of Great Britain – following on from Nils Lofgren – saw Californian blues/jazz guitarist Robben Ford dazzle the audience at Pacific Road, with a stunning evening of top notch playing.

In the company of his superb rhythm section – Melvin Davies (bass) and Gary Novak (drums) – Ford showed how he has been at the top of his game for over thirty years, with 90-minutes of blues, jazz and rock, which showed off his playing, without any of the posturing and over-amplification that many guitarists now feel they need!

This was classy stuff, not just from Robben Ford, but from all three master craftsmen musicians. When you see whom his band has played with over the years – the likes of Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton and Chick Corea, to name but a few – you realise the calibre of musician on stage.

As well as his own lengthy and established solo career, Ford himself is known for work with Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, and many more – impressive credentials! His guitar work is full of emotion and passion, from jazzy licks galore to bluesy runs and touches of funky rhythm work.

Stand-outs on the night were his tribute to the late Texas master, Freddie King, with the excellent “Cannonball Shuffle”; the lovely “Help The Poor” – a song covered many times but perhaps best known is BB King’s version; and a spirited up-tempo version of the Spencer Davis Band hit “Keep On Running” – the title cut of one of his more recent albums.

A brace of encores featured the excellent jazzy “Freedom”, with some more fine fret work – lapped up by a most appreciative audience, who all thoroughly enjoyed this evening of top quality music – with Melvin Davies and Gary Novak often given ample opportunity to shine.

Opening up proceedings were the North West based Samuel C. Lees Band, whose brand of rocking blues was well received. Highlights being a fine “The Sky Is  Crying” – more Stevie Ray Vaughan than Elmore James -  and the band’s own “Little Girl Lost”.

GRAHAME RHODES 



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Lionel

November 12th, 2006 at 22:23
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1

Great review, Graham. I thoroughly agree with your sentiments. It is particularly good to see such a great performer avoiding the posturing displayed by some of the younger breed these days. Kind of you not to mention his vocals, though – more Aynsley Lister from Leicester than BB King.
Lionel

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Lionel

November 12th, 2006 at 22:26
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Great review, Grahame. I thoroughly agree with your sentiments. It is particularly good to see someone of Robben’s prowess avoid the posturing displayed by some of the younger breed these days. Kind of you not to mention his vocals, though – more Aynsley Lister from Leicester than BB King!
Lionel

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Grahame

November 13th, 2006 at 19:46
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3

Nice one Lionel – very gracious of you not to mention a well-known British harp player that we beg to differ on! If everybody liked the same thing it would all be a bit dull!