Album Review: Robben Ford - "Bringing It Back Home"
Brining It Back Home
Mascot Label Group
Over the course of his 40-plus year career, Robben Ford has survived within a niche that is just jazzy enough for the beboppers and yet still contains enough soulful string bending for the hardcore blues hounds. With Bringing it All Back Home, he eschews his penchant for jazz-bop and instead presents a collection of blues and R&B tunes that focuses on the emotional content rather than guitar pyrotechnics. Even though he is quite a prolific composer, Ford decided to dig deep into the history of American music for the source material with only two originals on the album. Everything from Charlie Patton and Allen Toussaint to Big Joe Williams and Bob Dylan are covered here and masterfully interpreted by a group of A-list musicians that includes organist Larry Goldings and drummer Harvey Mason.
Relying entirely on the neck pickup of his 1963 Epiphone Riviera, Ford’s tone
throughout the album is the unifying thread here. It also provides a complete argument
for the musical cliché that “it’s all in your hands.” During his solo on “Bird’s
Nest Bound,” you hear everything from crystal clear rhythm stabs à la Cropper to
just a hint of breakup when he digs into some mean double-stops. Each track has the
looseness of a jam session but refrains from the extended over-soloing–only the instrumental
“On That Morning” extends over six minutes. Ford breaks out some Wes-style
octaves for the head while Goldings lays down some of the most tasteful B-3 fills since
Jimmy Smith’s Christmas album. With this album, Ford has found the right mix of
vibe, tone, and material—not an easy task. —Jason Shadrick
Must-hear track: “Trick Bag”