CD Review – Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters “Just For Today”
Just For Today
Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters
It’s Ronnie Earl’s band, but he doesn’t dominate it. Recorded live at a couple of venues in his home state of Massachusetts,the Stony Plains release is a seamless blend of jazz, soul and r&b by a band of seasoned vets comfortable enough with one another to have an intense musical conversation without stepping on each others’ toes.
On“ Vernice’s Boogie,” it’s all Dave Limina on keys, rippling through a boogie-woogie instrumental stomper that has the house cheering lustily.
At first, Earl’s guitar is front and center on “Rush Hour,” but once again, Limina steps up with some B-3 boogie on his own, then falls back to cushion Earl’s stinging licks on another instrumental.
“Heart of Glass” is not the Blondie smash, but a quiet, intricate jazzy glide showcasing Earl’s smooth, easygoing guitar style.
Sounding more like Albert Collins than Sumlin, Earl really busts loose on “Blues For Hubert Sumlin,” laying down a heartfelt instrumental tribute to the Wolfman’s right hand man.
“I’d Rather Go Blind” is yet another retake on the Etta James classic. Boston-based Diane Blue, who has been featured on harp and vocals with Big Jack Johnson and Irma Thomas as well as leading her own big band, injects plenty of soul and angst into her cover, ripping out her heart and what sounds like a large chunk of tonsil as well, Earl’s guitar chiming around her and Limina burbling along behind like Booker T.
Earl doesn’t break any new ground here, just doing what he always does, turning in another great performance with style and ease. It’s no wonder that this lineup has been together for 13 years. With a sound this good, there’s no need for them, or us, to go anywhere else.
By Grant Britt