Picks and Pans Review: Peace of Mind

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters

A latecomer to the riches of the blues guitar, Earl started playing when he was 22, after going to a Muddy Waters gig in Boston. At the time, Earl was working as a special education teacher. In the 15 years since, this most soulful of musicians has kept company with some of the top names in deep blues, jump blues and big city blues, recording and playing with the likes of B.B. King, the late Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Hubert Sumlin and Lou Rawls.

Peace of Mind is Earl's fourth solo release since leaving his lead guitar spot with the horn-heavy Roomful of Blues. The album features eight new numbers co-written by Earl, the best of which are the sophisticated, T-Bone Walkerish instrumental "Stickin'," which also shows off the handsome tenor saxophone stylings of Greg Piccolo, the virtuoso "Wayne's Blues" and the autobiographical "I Wish You Could See Me Now." about the recovery Earl has made in the last year and a half from cocaine and alcohol addictions.

Vocalist Darrell Nulisch, who also plays harmonica, has a pleasingly smoky voice that brings a fine measure of melancholy to such songs as "I Cried My Eyes Out" and "No Use Crying." Former Platters keyboardist "Tony Z" Zamagni joins Broadcaster regulars Steve Gomes (on bass) and Per Hanson (drums), pianist Dave Maxwell and baritone saxophonist Doug James to round out this exceptional effort by one of the blues world's more unlikely but most faithful sons. (Black Top)

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