POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Rodgers: Rock Nomad Leads Blues-Rock Pack


Down-home blues filtered through white rock singers is usually stripped of its ragged edges, not to mention the bulk of its depth and tension. Among the exceptions: any material performed by Paul Rodgers.

At the John Anson Ford Theatre on Friday, the English singer showed why he’s maintained a considerable lead over the rest of the blues-rock pack since he fronted the band Free in 1969.

Rodgers not only recycles those old blues licks with reverence and conviction, but delivers them with an explosive force that other blues-rockers can’t muster. In Friday’s show he was much better than his supporting cast, a pedestrian trio headed by ex-Journey guitarist Neal Schon.


Rodgers is a rock ‘n’ roll nomad whose stops have included Bad Company and Jimmy Page’s band the Firm. He drew on a wealth of old material Friday, including Free’s “All Right Now” and Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.” But the set was built around selections from his new album “Muddy Water Blues,” a tribute to bluesman Muddy Waters.

Guitarist Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats and Yes’ Trevor Rabin, who are both on the new album, showed up late in the show to add a little color to the generally colorless musical accompaniment.