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T-Model Ford 

Back before well-intentioned musicologists, PBS and Eric Clapton got a hold of the blues and reduced it to a watery minstrel show, it was feral, violent music, steeped in oppression and explosive in revelry. Safe, smiling bluesmen are now a dime a dozen, but the rare commodity is T-Model Ford, who delivers the blues with a cocksure, venomous bite. As a young man, Ford served two of a 10-year chain gang sentence for murder, commencing a lifelong revolving door of incarceration. At 75, when he's not having violent altercations with his woman Stella, he sings about them in clubs on the crack-addled streets of Greenville, Miss., cranking out the nastiest, hardest electric stomp blues around. His four records on blues-revival label Fat Possum are great documents of his raw power -- the most recent being 2002's Bad Man -- but in concert is where he lives up to his common refrain: "T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry f--kers how it's done." Cover $5. -- Alex V. Cook
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