Bobby Radcliff: Live at the Rynborn

Far grittier and in the tradition is Bobby Radcliff’s Live at the Rynborn (Black Top 1141; 57:28). A stripped-down trio recording, it features Radcliff’s slashing, stinging guitar upfront in all its raucous glory. Firebrand Bobby rips on downhomey numbers like Jimmy Dawkins’ “Please Have Mercy,” Lowell Fulson’s funky “Tramp” and hypercharged instrumentals like “The Honeydripper,” Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” and his own “The Introject.” A ferocious plectorist, Radcliff attacks the strings with a pent-up intensity, alternating abruptly between solid, staccato chordal statements and insane filigrees that make Buddy Guy seem tame. Even on a slow blues like Junior Wells’ “Early In The Morning” his playing is busy and tense, the perfect complement to his over-the-top vocal style. This cathartic, no-holds-barred approach to the blues often ain’t pretty, but it’s honest and exhilarating…clams and all. The Charlie Hustle of the blues.