CD Review – Ron Hacker “Live in San Francisco”
Ron Hacker has been a fixture of the bay area blues scene for nearly forty years for his tenth album simply titled “Live in San Francisco he and his trio The Hacksaws and caught doing what they do best, laying down some serious deep delta blues grooves, and slide guitar perfection.
The ten song set was recorded at the fame Biscuits and Blues club on one magic night in November of 2011. Hacker begins solo on the Sleepy John Estes classic “Ax Sweet Mama,” and proudly declares “I never saw no whiskey, but the blues made me sloppy drunk,” and then offers a master class on slide guitar playing, setting the tone for the joyous night ahead. Hacker is joined by the astute rhythm section of Steve Ehrmann on bass and drummer Ronnie Smith who play just what is need to push the songs along never stepping on the thematic lines Hacker weaves into each song. The trio covers the gamut of styles from two beat stomps, shuffles and upbeat boogie, on classic cover such as “Baby Please Don’t Go, Statesboro Blues and Death Letter from Son House. Hacker throws in a couple of his own compositions including a charming tale about his son “My Bad Boy,” and the wild ways of his first wife on the jumpin’ “Two Timin’ Woman.” All the tracks feature not only Hacker’s mastery of the slide guitar but his easy narrative vocal style that draws the listener into the authenticity of his blues and soul story telling. After explaining how he got permission from the man himself Hacker closes the show with a frenzied nine minute version of John Lee Hooker’s “House Rent Blues,” leaving nothing but sawdust and echoes in his wake. Serious blues fans need to add this one to their collection.