Robben Ford - Stripped back, bare, and all the better for it.,
This review is from: Bringing It Back Home (Audio CD)
Despite being one the worlds most gifted guitar players Robben Ford has always been a hard one to categorise. To jazzy for the blues guys - not jazzy enough for the jazz guys. Lacking in a gusty Jack Daniel's soaked Gregg Allman voice, the rock guys didn't seem to want to know him either. Despite all this Robben Ford is so much more than a great guitarist. He's also a good (not great) singer, a decent song writer and an effective band leader; always having the knack to put together great bands either for touring or recording purposes.
On this release Robben strips it all back to basics, keeps it simple in terms of the arrangement of these classic songs and eases back on his guitar playing. Unfortunately not to many will be interested in hearing this album unless you are a guitar player and thats a little sad, because there is a lot on offer here. From the stripped back simple groove of 'Everything I do gonna be funky' to the great rendition of the Bob Dylan song 'You go your way and i'll go mine' at no time does this album ever feel forced and deliberately 'retro'. It all seems very natural and it is indeed refreshing to hear Robben's guitar tone go from the thick overdriven Dumble tones he is well known for to a clean sparkling tone (still Dumble but more classic Fender sounding with a tone of reverb). All the guitar parts were reportedly done on one mid 60's Epiphone Riviera on the neck pickup. This of course limits a guitar players 'voice' immensely but Robben never fails to come up with deliciously well constructed and inspired parts and as always knows when to play and when not to play. With Robben Ford 'taste' is always king.
So where does 'Bringing It Back Home' rank amongst Ford other offering from his extensive career? Very high up indeed. Not as good as 'Talk To Your Daughter' or 'Handful Of Blues' but easily as good as 'Tiger Walk' and light years ahead of 'Supernatural'. Try it. It's a new direction, unchartered waters so to speak, but a direction I will be following over the next few years and releases.