This live performance was recorded at a reunion concert on “Sierra Center Stage,” which is apparently a television concert series on some channel somewhere. (Seems like it must be a PBS series, dontcha think?) I never heard of the show before I saw this video. The video is pretty cool. It includes interviews with the musicians, and the playing is very, very hot.
Mark Ford blows nice harp and shows a lot of sensitivity to his sound and lines. His attention to rhythmic precision is reminiscent of Magic Dick, but he’s no Dick clone. He fits well with the band and compares well to his harp-playing contemporaries, but he’d sound even better if he wasn’t standing onstage next to an absolute monster like Robben Ford, whose playing here frequently defies comparison.
You can name plenty of guitarists that play as well as Robben Ford–guitar virtuosos are not in short supply–but you can’t name anyone who sounds like him. His playing here seems encyclopedic in its command of line and timbre, with lots of stuff you wouldn’t expect to hear in blues guitar. Everything sounds totally appropriate to the genre as well as thoroughly original. Mark Ford’s lines sound far more traditional in their note choices and techniques, though the amped tone and rhythmic precision are more modern.