On The Ladies Man, T-Model Ford comes off more than ever as a living testament to the sustaining power of the blues. Pushing 90 (though his exact age is a bone of contention), Ford had just experienced severe heart problems and had a pacemaker installed when he recorded the album, but to say he sounds full of life here would be an understatement. It doesn't hurt that Ford was recorded in the optimum manner to capture his real, raw Mississippi sound -- he laid down these tracks live in the studio, accompanied with just the right amount of looseness by members of his frequent backup band GravelRoad and others, in one session, with no overdubs or second takes. Snatches of his conversations with the musicians are interspersed between some of the tracks, filling in the picture with even more vivid colors; he reminisces about being inspired to play by the music of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, enthusiastically shouts "It's Jack Daniels time!" (an album photo shows him happily hoisting a bottle of Jack), and instructs the band to "Let it all hang in, don't let it hang out." Playing tunes associated with Muddy Waters ("Two Trains") and Muddy's right-hand man Little Walter ("My Babe"), and revisiting quirky original tunes he has recorded in the past like opening cut "Chicken Head Man," Ford brings to bear his rough-and-ready vocal style and forceful acoustic fingerpicking with an intensity that suggests a performer a good few decades younger. Ford first came to fame during the '90s heyday of Fat Possum Records, alongside Mississippi hill country contemporaries like R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, but at a time when many of his peers have died off and even Fat Possum has embraced rock over blues, Ford's first studio album for a new label shows him to be not just a survivor, but a solid rock supplying a living, breathing foundation for his brand of blues.