Robben Ford Biography

Robben Lee Ford, 16 December 1951, Woodlake, California, USA. A jazz, blues and rock guitarist, Robben is the most celebrated member of the musical Ford family. His father Charles was a country musician, and his brothers Patrick and Mark are bluesmen, playing drums and harmonica, respectively. Inspired initially by Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton, Ford’s first professional engagement was with Charlie Musslewhite in 1970. He formed the Charles Ford Band with his brothers in 1971, then backed Jimmy Witherspoon from 1972-74. He toured and recorded with Joni Mitchell (as part of L.A. Express) and George Harrison in 1974, the resulting exposure bringing him a considerable amount of session work.

In 1978, Ford formed the Yellowjackets with keyboards player Russell Ferrante and found time to record a patchy solo debut, The Inside Story. The early 80s saw him performing with Michael McDonald and saxophonist Sadao Watanabe; in 1986 he joined the Miles Davis band on its tour of the USA and Europe. The solo Talk To Your Daughter was a triumphant return to Ford’s blues roots, and picked up a Grammy nomination in the ‘Contemporary Blues’ category. In 1992, Ford formed a new unit, the Blue Line, featuring Roscoe Beck (bass) and Tom Brechtlein (drums), augmented by Bill Boublitz (keyboards). The unit recorded three acclaimed albums before disbanding in 1997. The same year’s Tiger Walk was recorded with Keith Richard’s rhythm section, but lacked the urgency of the Blue Line set-up captured on the following year’s The Authorized Bootleg. Ford has also collaborated with his brother Patrick in the Ford Blues Band, releasing tribute albums to Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield. Ford plays cleanly in an uncluttered style (like Bloomfield), but occasionally with the frantic energy of Larry Carlton.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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