Guitarist Ronnie Earl followed Duke Robillard in Roomful of Blues. After his stint with the band which lasted from 1978-1988, he formed the Broadcasters and has cut numerous discs with various versions of the band since then. While his initial efforts focused on straight forward blues with the likes of Darrel Nulisch or Sugar Ray Norcia on vocals, his recent outings have either been entirely instrumental or have featured guest vocalists on a limited number of tracks. This release features Diane Blue behind the microphone on "Kismet", the Otis Rush classic "Double Trouble", Eddy Arnold’s "You Don’t Know Me", Don Robey’s "As the Years Go Passing By" and a smoking hot version of Gladys Knight’s "(I’ve got to Use My) Imagination". The disc takes its title from not only the historic Maxwell Street Market in Chicago but is also a tribute to the late, great keyboardist, David Maxwell, who was a member of the Broadcasters for a number of years. The track "Elegy for a Bluesman" was penned by current keyboardist Dave Limina in his honor and Earl takes his own turn on "Blues for David Maxell". With the exception of "(I’ve got to Use My) Imagination" and "BroJoe" which feature more of a party vibe, the bulk of the material is restrained and atmospheric and is aimed more at your head than your feet. Earl’s fluid, lyrical, leads invite close listening as he uses tone and dynamics to convey the emotions he is wringing from his guitar. Blues’ vocals are a study in restraint as she matches the mostly mellow feel of the tunes. Sophisticated and delivered with exquisite taste, this disc would be a perfect soundtrack to an intimate dinner party or a late night slow dance. SMITTY

review by Mark

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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