Ronnie Earl - Fathers Day

By Karent Nugent
September 2015

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Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters

Father’s Day

Stony Plain

By Karen Nugent

BBS Editor

Ronnie Earl, voted Best Guitarist of 2014 by the Blues Foundation, is reunited with the Broadcasters – his excellent band from the 70s (or was it the 80s? I can’t recall…) He is joined on this bluesy blast of an album by top vocalists Diane Blue and Michael Ledbetter.

Ronnie’s Chicago west side sound echoes throughout the record, which has – to my great pleassure – two Otis Rush songs and another two by Magic Sam. Then there’s a B.B. King song and a side trip to New Orleans for a Fats Domino tune.

What more needs to be said? Only that Earl’s guitar work is strong, emotional, and treats us to his always recognizable crisp dynamics and pure talent.

The 13 track-record also pulls at the heartstrings because, as the title indicates, it was made as a tribute to Earl’s father, Akos Horvath, with whom he apparently had a strained relationship. It was repaired at the end, fittingly enough, on Father’s Day. A touching tribute in the liner notes say, in part, “Don’t ever give up on your family, and don’t quit until the miracle happens.” There’s a photograph of the elder Mr. Horvath reading a newspaper feature about his son.

Father’s Day is perfected by the addition of vocals (Ronnie doesn’t sing and many of his songs are instrumentals) and a horn section not seen in decades. Our friend Mario Perrett is on tenor sax and Scott Shetler on baritone sax. Besides Ronnie Earl on guitar, the Broadcasters are Lorne Entress on drums, Dave Limina on keys, and Jim Mouradian on bass. It’s great to have them reunited with Ronnie!

Our lovely local Diane Blue, a Boston-based singer and harp player whose earlier work with Earl caused a sensation, shows off some deep, sultry vocals, especially on Magic Sam’s “What Have I Done Wrong” on which she sounds a lot like Aretha Franklin.

Her sexy vocals are complimented by those of Chicago-based Michael LedBetter, lead singer of the Nick Moss Band. Ledbetter sounds like Otis Rush on the opener “It Takes Time,” (Earl kills it on guitar,) and on “Right Place, Wrong Time.”

The lone instrumental, a jazzy number called “Moanin,” by Bobby Timmons is a highlight of the record. It has overtones of blues, and it’s danceable.

The 8-minute title track shows up about halfway through the album, and as expected, has some deep, heavy lyrics expressing the power of love and forgiveness. (“Can you replace the anger?” and “We said everything we had to say/We reached peace, we made peace on Father’s Day.”)

Earl has three originals on the record, including the swingy, happy “Higher Love,” with good B3 by Limina and sharp guitar solos, and the funky “Follow Your Heart.”

Earl’s version of Magic Sam’s “All Your Love” is slow and mellow with again, some fine piano by Limina.

Being a spiritual man, Earl ends the disc with the Gospel classic, “Precious Lord.” Hey, we can always use a little religion once in a while, I suppose.

The CD was recorded in Acton, and is also dedicated to who Ronnie describes as his “spiritual brother” David Maxwell, a Boston blues fixture who passed away earlier this year.

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