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T-Model Ford
BAD MAN
(FAT POSSUM/ANTI-)

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There was a calculated, foot-stomping irrationality to this Delta bluesmanís earlier Fat Possum albums thatís missing here. In a sense, thatís too bad, because the whimsical violence and outright unpredictability of numbers like "To the Left to the Right" and "If I Had Wings," balanced with the likes of "Motherís Gone," presented Fordís best show-biz instincts and his heart. This time we get whatís essentially a studio recording of his live set, under the direction of producer Jim Dickinson, and itís not very exciting. Without the provocation of the usual Fat Possum production team of Bruce Watson and Matthew Johnson ó who have encouraged Ford to come off as wild as possible by exercising his legitimate eccentricities on disc in the interest of selling CDs outside the blues market ó we get Howliní Wolf imitations ("Ask Her for Water" and "Backdoor Man") and meandering strolls through tunes like "Let the Church Roll On" and "Bad Man," which lack energy and dynamics. Strip away the craziness and Ford is merely a competent guitarist with a drummer sidekick, Spam, who knows only two patterns. On the other hand, this is the first album Ford has done where he honestly sounds like himself.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: September 19 - 26, 2002
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