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CD Review
Joe Beard
"For Real"
AudioQuest Music, AQ-CD1049, 13 tracks, 53 minutes
Born in Ashland, Mississippi, influenced by family friends Floyd and Matt Murphy, Joe Beard moved to Rochester, NY in the mid 1950's and just happened to have a neighbor by the name of Son House. He has been playing in small clubs in the Rochester area since that time developing a traditional blues style patterned after some of his blues heroes, people like Sonny Boy Williamson II, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Guitar Slim, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Muddy Waters.

This is a traditional sounding blues album with a superb cast of supporting musicians. Duke Robillard on guitar, Bruce Katz on piano, Jerry Portnoy on harp - you can't get much better help than these guys and they offered true support, never stepping on the toes of each other or over shadowing Beard's vocals.

Beard, a rare find, is a true blues stylist with a rich and authoritative guitar sound and traditional sounding vocals. His music is rooted in the delta and early urban blues of Memphis, Detroit and Chicago. His songs all have a story telling quality about them and his interpretation of the few covers included on his second AudioQuest CD is very refreshing. There is an unbelievably great reworking of the Classic Guitar Slim song "The Things I Used to Do." His version is slower, placing more emphasis the plaintive lyrics. His guitar playing is understated but still has the Eddie Jones spirit, capturing the original intent and flavor of the song. Beard has also added some very interesting liner note comments on the album's songs.

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