Ronnie Earl And The Broadcasters review…September 8, 2016…

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS

MAXWELL STREET

STONY PLAIN RECORDS  SPCD 1391

MOTHER ANGEL–ELEGY FOR A BLUESMAN–IN MEMORY OF T-BONE–KISMET–DOUBLE TROUBLE-(I’VE GOT TO USE MY) IMAGINATION–BLUES FOR DAVID MAXWELL–YOU DON’T KNOW ME–BROJOE–AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY

On February 13, 2015, the music world lost one of its most innovative and inspiring pianists to ever grace a stage or a recording with the passing of David Maxwell.  He was a member of Ronnie Earl’s Broadcasters, and Ronnie has paid his colleague the ultimate compliment by dedicating his latest set for Stony Plain, “Maxwell Street,” not only to honor David’s vast contributions to blues piano, but also as a tribute to the famed outdoor market in Chicago where all the legends played.

There are six originals and four covers herein, with Ronnie on guitar, Dave Limina on keys, Lorne Entress on drums, Jim Mouradian on bass, Diane Blue on vocals, and special guest Nichols Tabarias on guitar.  The original instrumentals, save for the uptempo swing of “Brojoe,” take on a slow-blues, reverential–even elegiacal–tone in tribute to the man Ronnie described as having “become Otis Spann” in his later career. Highlights for us were Ronnie’s “Blues For David Maxwell,” and Dave Limina’s piano-driven “Elegy For A Bluesman.”

Diane Blue offers up some fine vocals, also.  She and Ronnie co-wrote a philosophical tune about doing unto others, “Kismet,”  spreading the gospel that “it’s a God thing” and also “a good thing.”  And, she turns the Eddy Arnold-Cindy Walker classic, “You Don’t Know Me,” into a smoldering torch song augmented by brush-stroked drums and clever interplay between Ronnie and Dave.

It has often been said that music has the power to heal.  If that is the case, then “Maxwell Street” will go a long way in consoling fans for the loss of David Maxwell.  Ronnie Earl knew him well, and this is a stirring tribute from his fellow bluesmen.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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