Poor Robben Ford, he's just too dead-gummed good for his own good. Both a versatile and virtuosic guitar player, Ford can sound at home in so many different styles he's often struggled to find one that would give him an identifiable imprint. To be sure, everyone who knows guitar knows Robben is a god, but is he a blues god? Or fusion god? Or is it rock? Throughout his thirty plus year career, he always seemed to come back to the blues, however. And that's fine by me, because he can sure play it (and contrary to what a few detractors might say, his singing passes muster, too).
About 15 years ago, Robben made his firmest commitment to that genre when he formed a three piece band, The Blue Line, with bassist Roscoe Beck and drummer Tom Brechtlein. They released three solid, blues-oriented records, culminating in 1995's near masterpiece Handful Of Blues. Following that gem, Ford jumped around from style to style with each succeeding release, yielding varying results. Soul-inflected vocal rock was the theme of Supernatural (1999), and for what it set out to do, it actually succeeded pretty well.
But fans of the Blue Line found nothing in that album they could get excited about until he mercifully threw them a bone on the very last track. It so happens this bone had a lot of meat hanging from it. As a big fan of the music of Paul Butterfield (he later released a Butterfield tribute album along with members of his family), Ford chose to cover Butterfield's 1964 composition "Lovin' Cup."
Paul Butterfield's original featured Mike Bloomfield's lead guitar following each sung line with a mini-lick. Sam Lay's cymbal ride underscored a typical mid-sixties rock shuffle. Meanwhile, the leader himself provided muscular vocals. This version was one of the very first blues-rock recordings and provides a nice demonstration of why the Butterfield Blues Band was maybe the best band on this side of the Atlantic at the time, save for perhaps The Byrds.