FREE Subscription - For more information  CLICK HERE



Back To Reviews page

Ron Hacker – Live In San Francisco

Self Release

10 tracks; 54.10 minutes

Ron Hacker is a stalwart of the SF scene and this is his tenth CD release though his first live recording. Recorded at Biscuits & Blues in November 2011 the set features Ron on slide guitar and vocals, backed by a solid rhythm section of Ronnie Smith (ex-Tommy Castro) on drums and Steve Ehrmann (Roy Rogers) on bass. The material is mainly drawn from the classic blues repertoire with two original songs.

Ron starts solo on Sleepy John Estes’ “AX Sweet Mama” which must be a close relative of “Leavin’ Trunk”. Ron can certainly play slide and his gruff vocals serve the music well. The band joins in for the rest of the set, starting with Willie Dixon’s “Meet Me In The Bottom” and a medley of Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go” and Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” which whips along at quite a pace, making this version very different to the Allmans’ or Taj Mahal’s. Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Welfare Store” is less frequently covered and the band slows the pace down for this one and Ron fairly growls the lyrics, even bringing President Obama into the song to bring things up to date!

Ron seems to have had some difficult relationships in his life. He explains that “My Bad Boy” is a song about his son at age 18: “I’m 18 now, Daddy, I’m gonna stay out all night long. These rules I’ve been living, they’ve caused me to weep and moan”. In “Two Timin’ Woman” Ron tells the audience that his first wife liked his friends “too damn much” and the song moves along like fast-paced John Lee Hooker. In between the two originals Ron tackles Son House’s “Death Letter” and Elmore James’ “It Hurts Me Too”, both played at a slower pace with terrific slide on both cuts.

The CD concludes with “Leavin’ Blues” which Ron tells us is a Johnny Winter song. The loping riff again recalls “Leavin’ Trunk” but works extremely well, possibly my favourite track on the CD. The final track is a very lengthy version of JLH’s “House Rent Blues” which is preceded by a nice anecdote about how Ron played this in front of John Lee without knowing he was in the audience, but John liked his version, so he feels he now has permission to cover the song! It is of course very similar to “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” but without the chorus in the bar; here we just get the lengthy story of how the guy lost his job and then got kicked out of his room because he could not pay the rent.

This was my first encounter with Ron’s slide playing which I enjoyed a lot though across a whole CD it would have been good to get a little more variety. Nevertheless I can imagine that Ron will sell a lot of CDs from the bandstand as souvenirs of an excellent live show. Fans of slide guitar and classic blues should seek this one out.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.

To submit a review or interview please contact:

For more information please contact:


Home  |  Contact  |  Submit Your Blues News - Advertise with Blues Blast Magazine
 Copyright - Blues Blast Magazine
2010    Design by: Moxi Dawg Design