Not that Rounder has a monopoly on good church singing. Hightone's ongoing programme of re-releasing records made by researcher David Evans on its subsidiary imprint HMG is responsible for a fine collection of driving gospel in The Spirit of Memphis Quartet's Traveling On. The opening theme, "We are the Spirit of Memphis Quartet", is a rousing scene-setter, but versions of "Motherless Child" and "Further On Up the Road" leave Eric Clapton - and just about anybody else - standing.
Somewhat more secular are Johnny Rawls and Deitra Farr, accomplished performers on the southern US "chitlin' circuit" who appear at the 100 Club as part of a series of showcases for JSP, the UK independent label currently on a hot streak.
Meanwhile, the London Moves series continues at the South Bank Centre's Purcell Room tonight, tomorrow and Monday, with the dynamic sax players Ed Jones and lain Bellamy and experienced pianist Mervyn Africa among the headliners.
But all the performers will be doing very well if they manage to reach the standards imposed by the just-released live album by Robben Ford and the Blue Line. Unlike many such projects, which are cobbled together from the best bits of countless performances, The Authorised Bootleg (Blue Thumb) is a genuine California club date, and is loaded with atmosphere. Not only that, but the all-acoustic playing is highly engaging, too. Ford, whose experience ranges from supporting Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones to playing jazz fusion, puts in a masterful display of tasteful blues and r'n'b, but is nearly outshone by pianist Bill Boublitz, who augments the other regular trio members, Roscoe Beck and Tom Brechtlein, as if his life depended on it.
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