Robben Ford: Nothin’ But the Blues

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Tags: blues, jazz, 1980s,

Robben plays one of his best songs, Nothin’ But the Blues.

Robben's ability to play authentic blues lines is unmatched. Couple that with his deep jazz sensibilities and you've got a recipe for some seriously inspired playing!

This clip was taken from an Italian television show in 1989 and it captures Robben at his fiery best.

Artist Info

Robben Ford Bio

Robben Ford (born December 16, 1951), is an American blues, jazz and rock guitarist.


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Discography
    • 2.1 Solo albums
    • 2.2 Live albums
    • 2.3 Compilations
    • 2.4 With Ford Blues Band
    • 2.5 With Mark Ford
    • 2.6 Collaborations
    • 2.7 Albums Played On
    • 2.8 As sideman
    • 2.9 Instructional DVDs
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links


Ford was born in Woodlake, California, but raised in Ukiah, California, and began playing the saxophone at age 10, picking up the guitar at age 13. Robben and his brothers Mark (harmonica) and Patrick Ford (drums) had a band they named the Charles Ford Blues Band in honor of their father.

Ford began playing professionally at age 18 when the Charles Ford Blues Band got a gig backing Charlie Musselwhite. The band also recorded two albums The Charles Ford Band and Discovering the Blues. Next Ford put together a band with Bay Area musicians that became Jimmy Witherspoon's backup band. Ford recorded two albums with Witherspoon, Live and Spoonful'. The Ford Blues Band reunites periodically, and released live albums in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1970s, Ford began to branch out into jazz fusion, and joined L.A. Express led by saxophonist Tom Scott in 1974. That same year they backed George Harrison on his American tour. In addition to recording fusion albums, they served as Joni Mitchell's backup band on Hissing of Summer Lawns and her live album, Miles of Aisles.

After leaving L.A. Express in 1976, Ford recorded his solo album, The Inside Story with a band that was to become the Yellowjackets. He went on to play a starring role on the first two Yellowjackets albums, although he was listed as a guest artist due to recording contract arrangements.

Ford worked briefly with Miles Davis in 1986; he can be heard on Davis' Montreux box set. Ford released his next album, called Talk to Your Daughter in 1988, a return to his blues roots. In 1989 he joined Philippe Saisse, Marcus Miller and J.T. Lewis in the cast of The Sunday Night Band for the second and final season of the acclaimed late-night NBC television musical performance program, Sunday Night. His best work in the 1990s includes Robben Ford and the Blue Line, and Tiger Walk. In addition to recording and touring with his own blues band, Ford continued to tour and play with other bands/artists such as Jing Chi (his fusion band), Gregg Allman and Phil Lesh. He has received nominations for four Grammy Awards.
File:Robben Ford Liri Blues 2002.jpg
Robben Ford at the Liri Blues fest,Italy,in 2002

Several Ford tribute bands exist. Ford was named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" by Musician magazine.

Ford uses Dumble Amplifiers since the early 1980's, and prefers Celestion G12-65 speakers. When travelling abroad he tends to use rented Fender Super Reverb amplifiers along with a Zendrive overdrive pedal by Hermida Audio. Guitar manufacturer Fender used to make a Robben Ford signature model, initially based on the japanese made Fender Espirit Ultra, it was developed by Dan Smith along with John Carruthers and evolved into a US Custom Shop model, until it was discontinued in 2002.

American luthier Gene Baker also made a Robben Ford signature model. Lately, Ford tends to favour a vintage 1960 Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Pauls and a custom-made guitar made by Taku Sakashta.

Ford is married to the cabaret singer Anne Kerry Ford, and collaborated with her on various projects. His nephew, Gabe Ford, is also a musician.


Solo albums

  • Discovering the Blues Live (1972)
  • Jimmy Witherspoon & Robben Ford Live (1976)
  • Schizophonic (1976)
  • The Inside Story (1979)
  • Love's A Heartache (1983)
  • Talk to Your Daughter (1988)
  • Robben Ford and the Blue Line (1992)
  • Mystic Mile (1993)
  • Handful of Blues (1995)
  • Blues Connotation (1996)
  • Tiger Walk (1997)
  • Supernatural (1999)
  • Sunrise (1999)
  • A Tribute to Paul Butterfield (2001)
  • Blue Moon (2002)
  • Keep on Running (2003)
  • City Life (2006)
  • Truth (2007)

Live albums

  • Discovering the Blues Live (1972)
  • The Authorized Bootleg (1998)
  • Soul on Ten (2009)


  • Blues Collection (1997)
  • Anthology: The Early Years (2001)

With Ford Blues Band

  • The Charles Ford Band (1972)
  • Reunion Live (1984)
  • As Real As It Gets(1996)
  • Hotshots (1994)
  • Fords and Friends (1996)
  • Ford Blues Band (1999)
  • Tribute to Paul Butterfield (2001)
  • In Memory of Michael Bloomfield (2002)
  • Another Fine Day (2003)
  • Centre Stage (2004)

With Mark Ford

  • Mark Ford and the Robben Ford Band (1990)
  • Mark Ford and the Blue Line


  • Minor Elegance (1990) with Joe Diorio, Gary Willis and Peter Erskine
  • Jing Chi (2001) with Vinnie Colaiuta, Jimmy Haslip
  • Jing Chi Live (2003)
  • Jing Chi 3D (2004)
  • Charlie Haden - Helium Tears (2006)
  • Sonny Landreth - From the Reach (2008)
  • With Michael Landau, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novak - Renegade Creation (2010)

Albums Played On

  • F-Zero Jazz Album (1992)
  • Voodoo Crossing: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix (2003) Message To Love
  • Viva Carlos - A Supernatural Marathon Celebration (2004) Blues For Salvador
  • A Guitar Supreme - A Giant Step In Fusion Guitar (2006) Village Blues
  • Come Together 2; Beatles Guitar Tribute (2000?) Golden Slumbers

As sideman

With Charlie Musselwhite

  • Takin' My Time (Arhoolie 1056) (1973)
  • Going Back Down South (Arhoolie 1074) (1975)

With Joni Mitchell

  • Miles of Aisles (1974)
  • The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)

With Tom Scott and the LA Express

  • Tom Cat (1974)

With Dizzy Gillespie

  • Rhythmstick (1990)

With Charlie Musselwhite

  • Where Have All The Good Times Gone (1984)

With Jimmy Witherspoon

  • Live at Monterey Jazz Festival (1972)
  • Live (1976)
  • Live at Notodden Blues Festival (1992)
  • Ain't Nothing New About The Blues (1995)

With Kiss

  • Creatures of the Night (1982)

With Georgie Fame

  • Cool Cat Blues (1991)

With Rickie Lee Jones

  • Pop Pop (1991)

With Bob Malach

  • Mood Swing (1991)

With Miles Davis

  • The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux (2002)

Instructional DVDs

  • The Art Of Blues Rhythm
  • Playing the Blues
  • The Blues and Beyond


External links

  • Official website
  • 2007 Modern Guitars interview by Brian D. Holland
  • Interview at Digital Interviews
  • 'Worried Life Blues' Performed Live in Germany 1994
  • Blue Rock It
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