T-Model Ford and GravelRoad: Taledragger (Alive/Southbound)

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T-Model Ford: I Worn My Body So Long
T-Model Ford and GravelRoad: Taledragger (Alive/Southbound)

At 90, the great and late-discovered bluesman T-Model Ford still sounds like he is one man who isn't going to let the road of life weary him.

Here with his touring band GravelRoad, he delivers a short sharp shock: eight songs, two hitting past the seven minute mark, closing with a nasty-edged Little Red Rooster. This is roadhouse blues which is sharp and stinging, and has guests Brian Oliver on keyboards, Mike Weinel on slide, and Matthew Smith on bass, slide, Hammond and 12-string.

Some tracks -- notably the howling, bruising treatment of How Many More Years, the heavily echoed I Worn My Body So Long -- are enhanced by the studio production, but that only adds resonance to Ford's ancient-sounding vocals.

It's a commonplace to believe bluesmen like ol' Ford are somehow connected to a deeper well than most -- his age alone would support that view, but he came late to the guitar a mere thirtysomething years ago when he was in his 50s! -- but he is also smart enough to know he has to connect with a more contemporary audience. Hence the young band he has.

But when he sings I Worn My Body So Long you really do feel that he is coming at you from another time.

Still a rare one. And 90?

There's hope for us all.

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