Review : Robben Ford – Wirral – 10 Nov 2006
Posted on: Sunday, Nov 12, 2006
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 IsÂ Crying” – more Stevie Ray Vaughan than Elmore James -Â and the band’s own “Little Girl Lost”.