Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Hope Radio (Elite)

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Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Eddie's Gospel Groove
Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Hope Radio (Elite)

Okay, all instrumental, guitar-driven blues isn't for everyone I agree -- but if anyone can persuade you to the cause it is Earl and his white-hot band which have their feet firmly in two camps, tough Texas blues where Earl is at home and freewheeling jazz-blues courtesy of pianist and Hammond player Dave Limina.

So this is sort of barroom-cum-clubland blues-rock jazz for people who can drink their tequilas without having to bellow at friends. Sippin' music in a sense -- although Earl's edgy and hot-wired guitar lines bring to mind Albert Collins and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (there is a story about that latter rogue under My Back Pages, see tag).

But the band also have a great sense of dynamics. Just when you think they are reaching for the stars powered by Stratocaster they will cut right back for some quiet interplay and allow the holy sound of Hammond to come to the fore.

Recorded live before a studio audience, many of these tracks reach beyond the eight-minute mark -- but they keep your attention the whole way.

Only New Gospel Blues at the end -- which sounds like it fell off an 80s MOR jazz album -- really fails to fire.

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