Ronnie Earl and Friends

Ronnie Earl and Friends

Ronnie Earl and Friends

Telarc Blues

Ronnie Earl’s been around a good long time now, coming to prominence as lead guitarist in Roomful Of Blues in the ’80s and striking out with his Broadcasters and solo work since. Coming off a jazz-blues instrumental album last year, 2001 sees Earl getting back to some basic blues, going back to even cover Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s classic “Rock Me Baby” and a couple of Magic Sam numbers. This is an all-star effort including James Cotton on harp, Luther Johnson on guitar, Levon Helm on drums, and Irma Thomas and The Fab T-Birds’ Kim Wilson on vocals (Wilson plays harp here, too). These are pretty much live-in-the-studio tracks of extended jams (two songs clock in just under eight minutes long) of smoky after-hours blues, and worthy of the cast. Which is saying a lot.

Telarc, 23307 Commerce Park Road, Cleveland, OH 44122; http://www.telarc.com

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