T-MODEL FORD BIOGRAPHY
James Lewis Carter T-Model Ford (born Forest, Mississippi, 1924 – died Greenville, Mississippi, 16 July 2013) was an American ‘Mississippi Delta Blues’ musician better known by his stage name, T-Model Ford. Unable to remember his exact date of birth, he began his musical career in his early seventies, recording for the Fat Possum Records label.
His musical style melded traditional Chicago blues and juke joint blues styles with the rawness of Delta blues and a rebellious attitude. Also known as “The Taildragger”, Ford, in reference to his age, was known to tell studio musicians, “T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry fuckers how it’s done.”
Ford’s vocals are tough and rough, and he can still holler and shout — like he does on “Two Trains” — while his guitar picking drones a harsh and hypnotic backup, giving the whole thing an understated helacious ferocity. Great stuff. It’s interesting that Ford didn’t even play guitar until was 58. Not that he’s become some kind of guitar wizard. Ford’s simple style is a strong reminder that powerful music comes from strength and passion, and not just from increased voltage.
The tracks all take a laid-back approach — not too fast, not too slow, and every one overflows with the spirit of deep blues. “Love Me All Night Long” rocks just enough with both music and attitude. This track ends with some spoken asides: “I’m the boss of the blues, baby,” and “I’m a ladies man.” Both times a sweet woman’s soft voice answers, “I know you are.” I know, it’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet, but the surprising intimacy of the remarks feels just right … just like the blues should feel.
There are three cuts of Ford just talking between takes, riffing on his past — “I was born in a swamp” — and his libation — “It’s Jack Daniels time.” I normally don’t care much for these musical interruptions, but it seems to work here. Ford’s ramblings sound like blues without the music.