Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters

Blues Guitar Virtuoso Live in Europe

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    9
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Although not released until 1995, this CD was recorded live in 1993 in Bremen, Germany. Live in Europe is Earl's tribute to his major influences, and Ronnie plays his favorite guitar throughout: a 1962 red Strat. The fast, driving "San-Ho-Zay" and "Blues for the West Side" go out to Magic Sam; "The Stumble" to Freddie King; "Thank You Mr. T-Bone" to T-Bone Walker and Duke Robillard (who inspired Earl to learn T-Bone). "Thank You Mr. T-Bone" features some cool call-and-response between Earl and Bruce Katz on the Hammond B-3. It segues nicely into "Akos," where you'll find more great B-3 (check out the improvised "Summertime" riff). An all-instrumental offering, Live in Europe includes a handful of tunes found on its predecessor, Still River, including "Szeren," "Rego Park Blues," and the aforementioned "Blues for the West Side." "Contrition," a slow, soulful tune penned by Katz, has some jaw-dropping runs by Earl. One can only imagine what it must have been like to be one of the lucky souls at this show. The only fault to be found on this album is the mislabeling of several tunes on the cover. (For example, "The Stumble" is listed as "Not Now Kovitch.") Still, it's this reviewer's all-time favorite album -- thank you, Mr. Earl.

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