Ford Blues Band to Play Final Sundays in the Park Concert this Sunday
Ukiah, CA. - This Sunday, August 17th in Todd Grove Park at 6:00pm Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah, KWNE-FM and MAX 93.5 are proud to present the final concert of the 23rd annual Sundays in the Park concert series featuring the Blues Sensations The Ford Brothers Band with Mark, Patrick and Robben.
For those unfamiliar with the Ford Brothers, they grew up in Ukiah, a small lumber town in Northern California. Having played in bands together while attending school, it was Patrick and Robben who first made the move to the San Francisco area to take the next step. After playing around the Bay Area for about six months Charlie Musselwhite heard their band and soon Robben and Patrick were with touring with Charlie. Over the next year they toured all over the US and Canada and recorded several LPs with Charlie.
They then decided to start their own band again and added their youngest brother Mark into the mix. They named the band The Charles Ford Band after their father and though the band only existed for about a year they made a big impression on the West Coast blues scene and received praise from bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Fenton Robinson, and Elvin Bishop. In fact Chess Records offered them a recording contract which would feature Muddy on two songs. It never happened as the band broke up shortly after that.
In 1972, several months after the breakup, they got back together for two days in the studio to record an Lp for Arhoolie Records. Chris Strachwitz felt it would be a sad thing if the band did not leave something behind. This recording became a modern blues classic that still sells in the CD format.
Though the brothers went their own ways they all stayed involved in music on one level or another. Robben gained great respect and recognition with his solo work in the jazz and blues fields as well as for his work with artists like Jimmy Witherspoon, Miles Davis, and George Harrison. He has also received several Grammy nominations for his guitar and vocal work on his solo recordings.
Patrick founded Blue Rock’It Records to record artists he felt were being ignored. Artists like Charlie Musselwhite, Brownie McGhee, and Chris Cain are among those whose careers were aided or even revitalized by Blue Rock’It. Patrick stayed in the blues idiom recording and touring with Luther Tucker, Lowell Fulson, Brownie McGhee, and others. In 1988 he formed the Ford Blues Band to record and tour his own material, not content to just be the drummer in the back.
Though Mark has chosen to limit his active time in the music business, he remains one of the greatest harp players on the scene. He recorded several releases for Blue Rock’It using Robben and his band to back him up. They have been best sellers for the label and feature Mark’s skills both as a performer and as a song writer.
The brothers remain close and continue working together whenever the opportunity arrives. They have made many recordings together over the years including the “Tribute To Paul Butterfield” and “In Memory Of Michael Bloomfield” CDs which were done to honor the two legends who had such an impact on each of them. When Robben, Mark, and Patrick get together it is usually with the other two active members of the Ford Blues Band, Volker Strifler and Dewayne Pate. The material they perform is a mix of songs from each of the brothers along with old blues tunes they give a new twist. Every performance is considered important as they don’t know when they will get together again. With that in mind they play each gig like it may be their last, and they want it to have been good fun for all.