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CD Review
Robbie Laws
"Takin' The Night Train"
Midnight Rain Music 95535
47 minutes, 9 tracks
by Ray Stiles
Robbie Laws, from the Pacific Northwest, plays the type of guitar that is "very" easy to listen to. He is a very skillful guitarist with the technique and virtuosity of a Robillard or Earl. He has a crystal clear tone, lightning fast fingers and an intricate style that is subtly enticing. He has been voted the best electric blues guitarist in the Northwest the past 3 years and you have to wonder why we havenít heard from him before this. Laws is no newcomer to the guitar either. He has been playing for over 20 years and started out by mastering the hard rock sounds of Yngwie Malmsteen. He was converted to the blues however, through a chance encounter with Albert Collins. "Collins was so impressed by Robbie's enthusiasm and technique, that he took the next several weeks to show Laws the 'ins and outs' of his unique playing style. He also acknowledged Robbie as a natural born blues artist and kindred spirit." Regarding the 4 weeks of nightly jamming he spent with Collins, Laws said, "it was a life changing experience" for him. In addition to Collins you can also hear some of the influences of T-Bone Walker, Gatemouth Brown, Lonnie Johnson and Guitar Slim in his subtle and remarkable playing.

On this new CD, Laws delivers a good mix of new original songs as well as a cover of "You Don't Love Me No More," an old Ike Turner song, and an excellent interpretation of "Blue Mood," originally performed by Jessie-Mae Robinson. Two of the songs were co-written with Kenny "Blue" Ray, who also shares guitar duties and is another exceptional guitar player from that area. Laws also has a succinctly warm, smooth vocal style that can easily convey a feeling and excellently complements his convincing guitar playing. I am looking forward to seeing this guy perform live here in the Twin Cities sometime soon.

PO Box 12222
Portland, OR 97212
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This review is copyright © 1998 by Ray Stiles, all rights reserved.

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Copyright 1997, 1998 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved.

Copyright 1997, 1998 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved.