Li'l Ronnie & the Grand Dukes

Young and Evil

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    8
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An accomplished and entertaining set of traditional electric blues, Li'l Ronnie and the Grand Dukes translate reverence into impassioned performance. Joined by guitarist Anson Funderburgh, Ronnie Owens deftly leads his band through a roll call of blues genre exercises, from the loosely rocking Texas blues of "Leavin' Here Tonight" to a jump blues cover of Amos Milburn's "Chicken Shack Boogie" and a slow burning rendition of George Smith's "Early One Monday Morning." Owens more than holds his own on the seven originals here, as well, with big swinging blues shouters, tight soul grooves, and jazzy instrumentals all sharing time. As Owens is a soulful vocalist and standout harpist, he does well to allow his backing band to share the spotlight in his powerhouse performances. Sure, it's all been done before, but this kind of enthusiasm and authenticity makes for an addition that should be welcome in any blues collection.

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