Thursday, April 07, 2011

T-Model Ford and Gravelroad - Taledragger (Alive Records, 2011)

One of the last of the old - time bluesmen, T-Model Ford’s life would make a great film or book, filled with stories both apocryphal and true. Hooking up the much younger band Gravelroad, he has injected fresh energy into his music and has continued to tour and record despite health problems. All of the pieces fit well on this album, with Ford and the band developing a hypnotic groove, putting their own spin on original material and some fresh takes on blues standards. The studio applies some pretty massive reverb to Ford’s voice, supporting it and giving it something of an old-testament prophet quality (although I’m not sure how many prophets of old sang about big legged women shakin’ it!) Flourishes like saxophone and organ develop the deep drone and groove of the music, and the wah-wah guitar effects on the standard “How Many More Years” betray the influence of the blues records made on the Fat Possum label in the 1990’s. Howlin’ Wolf in the main influence on this album with many of the songs associated with the great man covered. “I Wore My Body for So Long” is a thinly veiled re-make of “44 Blues” with with Ford’s Wolf-like growl and fine playing from the band it works really well. “Big Legged Women” is just a flat out juke joint boogie and one of the most enjoyable pieces on the album, which wraps up with a stripped down version of another Wolf associated piece, “Little Red Rooster." Taledragger -

Send comments to Tim.