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A Good Day to Play the Blues

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Album Review

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.


Born: 03 November 1940 in Smithville, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Sonny Rhodes is such a talented songwriter, so full of musical ideas, that he's destined to inherit the to seats left open by the untimely passing of blues greats like Albert King and Albert Collins. Born November 3, 1940 in Smithville, TX, he was the sixth and last child of Le Roy and Julia Smith, who were sharecroppers. Rhodes began playing seriously when he was 12, although he got his first guitar when he was eight as a Christmas present. Rhodes began performing...
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A Good Day to Play the Blues, Sonny Rhodes
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