Wednesday 20 June 2012

Review: Li'l Ronnie and the Grand Dukes - Gotta Strange Feeling

Li'l Ronnie and the Grand Dukes - Gotta Strange Feeling (Eller Soul Records)
Harmonica-driven opener ‘Can’t Buy My Love’ makes a favourable introduction to the label debut from this five-piece Mississippi roots band. There’s always room for another Southern-styled outfit that can keep it down and dirty, and when they hit the spot on Owens/Applerouth (vocals/guitar respectively) compositions such as ‘Love Never Dies’, ‘I Won’t Take it Anymore’ and 50’s Chicago blues homage ‘Can’t Please Your Wife’, the Grand Dukes show bags of promise. Elsewhere the material falls somewhat short (the Little Feat-lite ‘Cold Hard Cash’ and the less substantial ‘Screaming and Crying’ for example) and there’s a suspicion that tunes that may play perfectly well in the white heat of a packed bar aren’t really fully formed enough just yet to make the grade on record; and to be honest the faithful rendition of ‘C’est La Vie’ wasn’t really necessary – it’s been pretty well done to death already.
Neil B.


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