Young & Evil, Li'l Ronnie And The Grand Dukes
Planetary Records 9027, 2001

"File under blues" it reads on the info sheet that accompanied this CD when it fell in my mailbox. You can guess I was somewhat surprised, as most of you undoubtedly know, I run a rockabilly "shop". I like blues though, it was of course one of the main streams from which rockabilly evolved, but I usually don't write blues reviews, because I don't know much about it. Still I was quite impressed when I gave the album a spin and I thought, what the heck, let's do a page about this platter, coz it's really good. Some quotes:

The American root music of Richmond VA's Li'l Ronnie And The Grand Dukes is equally influenced by 50's R&B, various styles of the blues, and rockabilly. Along the way they mix in some soul, swamp rock and even a touch of jazz. All of this is evidentin the grooves of "young & Evil", the latest album by veteran singer / songwriter / harpist Ronnie Owens. The seasoned and versatile Grand Dukes are joined on five tracks by one of the premier guitarists in the blues today, Anson Funderburgh. Anson's lean, fluid playing adds compelling star power to the proceedings. Ronnie once told me that he sometimes takes his music too seriously. Thankfully he did so on this record... a serious man that commands respect in the world of contemporary blues. (excerpt from the liner notes by Thomas J. Cullen)

Mix equal parts Ronnie Owens (harp, vocals) and Anson Funderburgh (guitar), add a dash of Old Chicago, smother it in West Coast Jump and you've got the recipe for "Young & Evil", one of the best blues records you're likely to hear. Buck naked is da bomb-a guaranteed smash hit!
(Jimmie Silvia WNSB, Norfolk VA)

This is the second album of Li'l Ronnie And The Grand Dukes. I haven't heard their debut album "Too Fast For Conditions" (Planetary 9008) yet, but I think I'm gonna look for it soon, because this album here jumps and rocks like never before. I think that the rockabilly fans among you will like the Jump Blues tracks best; Mellow Chick, Rockin', Think Big, Chicken Shack Boogie. But you just listen to "Buck Naked" or "Let Me Down Easy", they're fabulous, both atmosphere and sound. "Buck Naked" can be listened to in full at (see below).

Leavin' Here Tonight - Mellow Chick - Young & Evil - Buck Naked - Rockin' - Think Big - Early One Monday Morning - Let Me Down Easy - I've Been Your Good Thing - Doggin' Round - Chicken Shack Boogie

Li'l Ronnie And The Grand Dukes are:
Ronnie Owens - vocals, harmonica
Mike Dutton - guitar
Terry Hummer - tenor & baritone sax, horn arrangements
Bobby Olive - drums
Steve Riggs - upright & electric bass
Steve Utt - piano & hammond B3

Special guests:
Anson Funderburgh - guitar
Rick Olivarez - guitar

Contact & booking:
Julius Zoller
A Cast Of Thousands Entertainment
P.O. Box 101102
Pittsburgh, PA 15237 (USA)
(800) 270-4230 / (412) 766-6299