Sonny Rhodes is a performer who believes in giving his all with every show, and when you see this turbaned performer in one of his bright suits you won't be disappointed. Although a strong effort, this disc suffers from some inconsistent material for him to let loose and really play the blues. He was born and raised in Texas, and you can hear that in his vibrant playing; however, he lived for years in the Bay Area and thus was exposed to and influenced by a wide variety of influences. His lap steel playing is sharp, gritty, and at times stinging to the bone. His vocals display his strong Texas upbringing; he played behind Albert Collins and Freddie King when he was younger, and these roots are exposed at their most basic in his phrasing. The material here (he wrote or co-wrote eight of the 13 cuts) is not weak -- it is just not as strong and animated throughout as the session during which he recorded Blue Diamond, which was as sharp, cutting, and balanced a performance as watching a fine cutting horse work his magic on the poor hapless cow. The music here is good, but he set a benchmark for himself, and he doesn't quite reach up to it on this one (though for anyone else it would be considered a great effort). This is a showman you truly have to see live to appreciate. The consummate showman can play the blues.
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AllMusic Review by Bob Gottlieb