Robben Ford has been around for years. Ever since his 1972 debut (Discovering The Blues), the world has been aware of the considerable talents of this blues guitarist, whose instrumentations range from spare to full. His latest album, Supernatural, keeps pace with both his style and abilities.
Lyrically, Robben Ford will not blow anyone away on a consistent basis, but there are a few gems on the album. “Nothing to Nobody” is an inspired, slow blues, with responsible, adult type lines such as, Father to my child/husband to my wife. Ford seems to be asking why he can’t just have a little anonymity, or at least a break from responsibility. My favorite lyric on this album comes on “If,” where Robben asks, If I stumble, will you make me feel the fool? The particular line and the song around it make this album for me.
The best tune overall seems to be a rock and roller named “When I Cry Today,” in which the verses start with sparce drumming and little bits of rhythm parts, and seems like it’s going to explode into a frenzy of loud. The tune holds back until after the verse, however, offering only a cool, be-boppy piano part, instead of the previously mentioned wall of loud. Very clever.
As a whole, Supernatural drifts through soul, funk, jazz, and blues. It starts slowly and drifts through a set of tracks reminiscent of James Taylor, only without the fingerpicking and storybook like lyrics. Many of the rhythm guitar parts are played with an acoustic guitar, while the backing vocals are reminiscent of an Al Green/Motown/soul style. Both of these elements make for a warm feeling throughout.
Warning: Do not listen to this album on a lovely, sunny day. It will kill every ounce of happiness that may have been possible. However, it does have a cool vibe and a nice bunch of instrumentations that would brighten up a drab, dreary day. All you have to do is think about all of the dismal things apparently hanging around in Robben Ford’s head. What’s that saying about misery and company?