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Robben Ford: Discovering the Blues

Several guitar-heavy outings crossed my desk this month. Some archival tracks by bonafide guitar hero Robben Ford have recently surfaced as Discovering The Blues (Avenue Jazz R2 71624; 56:20). A collection of early live performances, recorded when Ford was 21 and coming into his own as a solo artist, it highlights the guitarist’s signature searing style on covers of B.B. King’s classic “Sweet Sixteen” and John Lee Hooker’s “It’s My Own Fault” as well as Chicago-styled originals like “You Drive A Hard Bargain” and “Raining In My Heart.” Ford even showcases some soulful saxophone playing on the ballad “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” But it’s his fluid and passionate six-string work that really commands attention here.

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