Li’l Ronnie And The Grand Dukes review…06-04-12…

LI’L RONNIE AND THE GRAND DUKES

GOTTA STRANGE FEELING

ELLER SOUL RECORDS  ER51201

CAN’T BUY MY LOVE–COLD HARD CASH–LOVE NEVER DIES–SWEET SUE–SCREAMING AND CRYING–SHE’S BAD BAD NEWS–BUZZ ME–FAT CITY–CAN’T PLEASE YOUR WIFE–GOTTA STRANGE FEELING–I WON’T TAKE IT ANY MORE–LATE NITE BLUES–BRING YOUR LOVE HOME–C’EST LA VIE

 

 

Harpmaster Li’l Ronnie Owens and the Grand Dukes have recorded with and shared the stage with many of the greats, including James Cotton, Taj Mahal, and Gatemouth Brown, to name just a few.  They play a mean hybrid of jump-blues, swing, and good old rock and roll, and have just released their latest effort on the Eller Soul label, entitled “Gotta Strange Feeling.”  It showcases the songwriting skills of Ronnie and guitarist Ivan Appelrouth, with twelve originals that captutre the feel of  traditional combo blues, as well as two jazzy covers to round out a truly rockin’ set.

 

Joining Ronnie and Ivan are John Sheppard on bass, John Fralin on keys, and Mark Young on drums.  Check out the N’awlins feel of “Cold Hard Cash,” punctuated by North Side Slim’s big bass drum and maracas.  “Love Never Dies” is a sweet nod to classic Fifties’ doo-wop, while their cover on Louis Jordan’s “Buzz Me” shows their jazzier side, with an extended solo from Ivan.  Ronnie digs down deep into some real Delta blues with “Screaming And Crying,” blowing a wailing harp over Ivan’s acoustic leads.  And, the jumpin’ title cut warns that when “her friends won’t look me in the eye,” then you know she’s got another man!

 

We had two favortes, too.  The greasy, slow-drag of the instrumental “Late Nite Blues” gives everyone a chance to stretch out and show off a little.  The set closes with a brilliant tribute to Chuck Berry, “C’est La Vie,” which rocks with pure joy and abandon.

 

Li’l Ronnie And The Grand Dukes are seasoned veterans of the contemporary blues scene with one foot firmly planted in the roots of traditional blues, with the emphasis on everybody having a good time!  Grab a copy of “Gotta Strange Feeling” and….Enjoy!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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