Ronnie Earl Healing Time (Telarc Blues)

Healing Time (Telarc Blues)

Record Reviews

Ronnie Earl

Healing Time (Telarc Blues)

Has it really been that long since guitarslinger Ronnie Earl (Horvath) and his buddies in Roomful of Blues used to blow through the Antone's up on Guadalupe, slaying all the local blues fans with their horn 'n' guitar-driven jump 'n' jive? Earl can still peel the paint off a Texas shuffle or any low-down blues, but in recent years, he's expanded and refined his playing to incorporate a soulful jazz sensibility that's indebted to masters like Grant Green and Kenny Burrell. Healing Time, Earl's Telarc debut as a leader, might surprise some of his fans who haven't heard him in a while. Except for a couple of upbeat shuffles and a hard-edged take on a Muddy Waters Delta/Chicago blues classic, Earl makes nice on a set that stands out more for its subtlety than its firepower. As the title suggests, this is mostly about evenings and quiet afternoons rather than raucous Saturday nights. His inclusion of Duke Pearson's "Idle Moments" and Pharoah Sanders' "Thembi," both not-often-heard gems, certainly adds some cache as well as providing touchstones to an otherwise solid collection of originals, the best which, "Glimpses of Serenity" and "Bella Donna," give you an idea of the album's overall tenor. Although he gets sole billing this time out, Earl finds himself again in the company of his longtime band the Broadcasters. In addition, a bit of extra help comes from B-3 organ maestro Jimmy McGriff, most notably on "Churchin'," which opens the album in a spirited way. The clarion call of a concise "Amazing Grace" brings you all the way back home ... healed.

***.5

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