Thursday, January 19, 2006

Robben Ford

Back to music; I’ve been meaning to post something about Robben for a long time. As even now my musical tastes evolve I find that the Robben Ford Band is the perfect blend of smart lyrics, great phrasing and awesome singing. The man has a voice, and although he's on the verge of guitar god status it's his voice and song structure that is so rock solid. We caught Robben touring with John Mayall and his latest version of the blues breakers. Honestly, John's new stuff isn't doing it for me. Now John has legions of fans and I am sure they love every note and to be fair he is a little long in the tooth, but Robben Ford kept that show going. Someone else on that tour worth mentioning is Eric Bibb. I never heard Eric before but I can tell you he is a wonderful performer, player and singer. Well this is what John Mayall does he finds talent and brings it to the world. How the heck he got that figured out I’ll never know. I mean the Stones plucked Mick Taylor from him, and his latest tour sold a ton of CD’s for Robben and Eric. So hat’s off to John. So what about Eric Bibb? Well he possesses a clear booming voice and is definitely having fun on stage. If I was still on the air both Robben and Eric would be getting plenty of air time. Both players are fantastic, underrated and hopefully not under the radar for too much longer. All in all it was a good show in a beautiful venue.

Speaking of underground talent just because I never stumbled across Robben Ford doesn’t mean he hasn’t been out there doing it for years with legions of fans. Both he and Eric Bibb have long, long, resumes and lots of pedigree. If you haven’t click on the Eric Bibb link for his history. Robben Ford well the laugh is on me. He was on stage back in 1974 as I was fortunate enough to catch the one and only George Harrison tour. Well I was only 14 years old at the time but our paths crossed. Robben is also on Court n Spark – Joni Mitchell and worked with Little Feat. He also toured with Phil Lesh. Legions of people have seen, heard and witnessed both of these men play.

Why am I just finding out about them now? It is because mainstream media is by and large devoid of soul. The corporate commercialization of music has homogenized the market and aimed for the lowest common denominator to secure the most sales. Well music sales have tailed off another 100 million this year dropping 7% on total unit purchases. This can be attributed to the internet and downloading but I feel strongly that their model of making middle of the road music has produced soulless, unoriginal, white noise, for years. That has got to do something to the overall excitement about music. Noise is money as the Talking Heads used to say but the same old noise year after year is just killing the market. Robben Ford is precisely the kind of talent corporate music biz executives should be pushing. He would fit perfectly on any radio format that played Bonnie Raitt. It’s a no brainer. But when money is the biggest consideration talent and creativity gets ignored, water downed, and exploited. It is all the more reason to dig below the surface and think for yourself. Robben Ford and Eric Bibb get my vote as great musicians, wonderful talents and deserve a listen. Support them and you will deliver a message to them. A message to keep doing what they are doing, help them survive as musicians, and come to your town for a party despite corporate America being utterly clueless. So what if they are not on the bill board top 100. When it comes to what really matters or what’s really happening the people chasing the money and holding money aloft above all else are just destroying the landscape both the musical and the planets. Keep on thinking free my friends. See you next time.

Paul

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