Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings

Live! (Chops Not Chaps)

"Chops Not Chaps" is the slogan Bay Area guitarist Roy Rogers uses to distinguish himself from celluloid cow-babe Dale Evans' main squeeze. Yes, both Roys took on the six-string, but the surviving Rogers has made a name for himself as a world-class slide player, alongside such peers as Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth.

One of Rogers' primary influences is New Orleans music. Whether picking country-style through a one-time Crescent City gem like the Alvin Robinson hit "Down Home Girl," lending a sassy strut to the Willie Dixon/Howlin' Wolf classic "Built for Comfort," or working up Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" with a spirited second-line rhythm, Rogers never strays too far from the town. This goes for his originals as well. While it's impossible not to twinge at any good-timey references to the Big Easy these days, Rogers' stuff can endure the hit. The Kings' trio sound is well crafted: Underneath their leader's phenomenal work lurks extroverted drumming from Jim Sanchez and smart, economical bass from Steve Ehrmann. In Rogers' hands, the blues becomes a party -- and a wild one at that.