Li値 Ronnie and the Grand Dukes

Li値 Ronnie and the Grand Dukes
Gotta Strange Feeling

Eller Soul Records (ER 51201)

By Georgetown Fats
August 2012

Given Li値 Ronnie Keith Owens musical pedigree - his bios and press kits tout opening for John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Taj Mahal, and Johnny Winter, not to mention his work with Mark Hummel痴 Blues Harmonica Blow Out tours - I eagerly awaited the arrival of the review copy of Gotta Strange Feeling, their first CD on Eller Soul Records.

Unfortunately, after repeated spins of Li値 Ronnie and the Grand Dukes Gotta Strange Feeling it is apparent that the final product does not live up to the anticipation of the final product. While there is a lot to like with Li値 Ronnie and the Grand Dukes Gotta Strange Feeling the disc is good but not great. The opening track to Gotta Strange Feeling, 鼎an稚 Buy Me Love musically illustrates both the best and worse of Li値 Ronnie and The Grand Dukes. Li値 Ronnie Owens, to his credit due to the level of musicians assembled as part of The Grand Dukes, and being a first class harp player himself, are able to faithfully and impeccably reproduce the vintage Chess Records sound. Unfortunately, due to Owens own work with a vocal mic and his formulaic songwriting, Li値 Ronnie and The Grand Dukes would have never have survived in the old south side Chicago blues club scene.

Figuring I would find some genuine pathos, I couldn稚 help but gravitate to the Owens penned 鉄creaming & Crying track. Opening with a funky acoustic guitar riff courtesy of Ivan Appelrouth (guitarist/co-songwriter) and an inspired harp solo by Owens, once his pitchy and lounge-like vocals start into the song, I can稚 help but be distracted.

On the Louis Jordan classic track 釘uzz Me, Li値 Ronnie and The Grand Dukes clearly are in their element as a band and show why Li値 Ronnie Owens has been able to make a 25+ year career out of music. With a musical blueprint in hand, or a set of well chosen cover songs, it isn稚 hard to imagine Li値 Ronnie and The Grand Dukes receiving favorable billing on most summertime blues festivals. As presently construed, they wouldn稚 headline a major festival, but they would send the majority of festival patrons home happy.

If you find you have a desire for more interpretations of the Chicago Blues sound, then Gotta Strange Feeling is a worthy addition to your musical library. If you池e hoping for a new interpretation of that vintage sound, or proof of Aristotle's theory that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, then I Gotta Strange Feeling that Li値 Ronnie and The Grand Dukes are not for you.

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