Sonny Rhodes

Blue Diamond

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AllMusic Review by

This very unique lap steel player of the blues stretches out on this Canadian roots label's release. Those who have seen him will never forget his shows, where he goes out of his way to entertain an audience. From his bright red suit to his bejeweled turban, and the legendary smile that is absolutely radiant, to the good humor he displays on stage, add his prowess on his lap steel, and he is every bit the entertainer. This same warm and embracing energy is captured on this disc and given as a bonus to the listener. The lap steel is far more common in country music, but it is an instrument that he has adapted to the blues and he finds it gives him the musical expressions and tones he was looking for. He was born in Texas and the blues that he heard growing up, as played by T-Bone Walker, Freddie King, and Chuck Willis can still be heard in his music. This combined with his strong and imaginative songwriting -- he wrote or co-wrote ten of the songs on this disc -- and his expressive voice make for a very worthy disc, plus as a bonus there is an in-depth interview at the tail end of the disc. Take special note of the expression and intensity displayed in "Blues Walk." This man, born Clarence Edward Smith, has come a far piece of ground from his roots, yet his appreciation and hard work -- he is on the road 250 days a year -- has honed his sound to sheer enjoyment. He is a true diplomat of the blues.

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