Fluency: Robben Ford, “Talk To Your Daughter” (1988)

Liquid FireI’m breaking a cardinal rule for Hooks posts and writing one without any analytical idea about the track that calls forth my tribute. That’s the thing: that Robben Ford’s lead guitar licks in “Talk To My Daughter” are so deeply satisfying without having anything surprising or otherwise grabbing about them. They’re the epitome of jazzy blues fluency: fully hot (brash tone), fully liquid (big sustain), suave (every note sounding totally in place), confident (filling the opportunity space), endlessly refreshed.

This is not heaven-storming music, not to be compared with the liquid lightning I’ve heard Johnny Winter play. It’s terrestrial, it’s domestic, it’s well worked out, it’s completely in hand. If it weren’t so good I’d say it’s commercial.

I suppose its intensity owes something to its contrast with a subdued prologue:

“Talk To Your Daughter” 1

There is more of that grade-A guitar flow, much more. Here is some of the hottest stuff in the middle:

“Talk To Your Daughter” 2

It really doesn’t need elucidating at all. That’s fluency, and a rare calmness in the critic’s mind.


I’ve noticed that some of Ford’s nicest guitar work on the Talk To Your Daughter album is barely audible as the tracks fade out, so as a bonus I’m including a few of his endings giving you all the help I can with my volume knob:

“Help The Poor” end

“Born Under A Bad Sign” end

“I Got Over It” end


About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College
This entry was posted in Arrangements and Sounds, Rock Aesthetics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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