Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ruf Records: 20 Years Anniversary - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, 20 Years Anniversary, from Ruf Records. This is a hot release of music from 1994 to present showing the breadth of Ruf artists talent. Opening is one of my personal Rolling Stones classics, Bitch featuring Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde from the Girls With Guitars release. Hot! Up next is Bliss Avenue, the title track from Bliss Avenue, by Dana Fuchs. Fuchs has a throaty voice with a lot of grit on this track which has a lot of the suspense of Screaming Jay Hawkins. I had the fortune to review her Songs From The Road release recently and she really puts on a show! Make sure that you catch the smoking guitar solo on this track! Joanne Shaw Taylor is up next with Can't Keep Living Like This from Diamonds In The Dirt. Showing her guitar prowess, Taylor demonstrates clearly that she isn't just a skirt and a voice. Fish is back on Down In The Swamp from her Runaway release. With it's driving "swampy" guitar vamp Fish sets the stage, tells the tale and then rips it to shreds on guitar. Very cool. Dani Wilde changes the pace up a bit with the title track from her Shine release. A R&B style track nicely highlights Wilde's soulful voice. Meena follows Wilde with James Brown's epic,Try Me from her release of the same name. A very tasty and melodic guitar solo nicely accents the more modern sound brought to the table by Meena. Very nice! Ana Popovic steps up with Love Fever from her Hush release. With a ballad format and a R&B strut, Popovic gets things moving. Popovic reels off some biting guitar riffs balancing the catchy melody with guitar muscle. Next is a not yet released track, Stranded In Memphis by Eliana Cargnelutti, from her CD to be released in 2015. A solid entry by this new artist, she will be featured in the 2015 Blues Caravan. Joanna Connor is up next with the slightly funky, gospel influenced, Never Been Rocked Enough from her Rock And Roll Gypsy release. Erja Lyytinen lays down some hot slide work on Skinny Girl from her Dreamland Blues release. This has a cool mix of a rock 'n' roll rhythm with bluesy slide. Really cool! Sue Foley does a old style swing blues track Show Me, from her Time Bomb release. Well balanced with cool, stylistic piano, Foley's vocal and guitar efforts make for a well rounded blues track. Candye Kane and Laura Chavez pull out a real swinger in Toughest Girl Alive from her Guitar and Feathers release. Chavez is a good match on guitar for Kane with her strong vocal presence. Wrapping disc one is Sue Foley, Deborah Coleman and Roxanne Potvin on In The Basement from the Time Bomb release. Sugar Pie DeSanto's original R&B feel comes through loud and clear but with stinging guitar riffs this time around. Opening disc 2 is Thorbjorn Risager and If You Wanna Leave from his Too Many Roads release. This is a strong blues rocker with excellent grinding guitar tones and a hot sax solo. The Royal Southern Brotherhood fire up Rock and Roll from the HEARTSOULBLOOD release. A straight up Rock 'n' roller with great vocals and hot slide, this track really gets you moving. With talent like Cyril Neville, Devon Allman, Mike Zito, Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooton you'd expect nothing less. Walter Trout releases his trademark blues rock sound on Livin' Every Day from his Livin' Every Day release. An anthem of triumph for Trout and his recent health issues, he stiff arms time in the face blazing his path with amazingly fluid guitar riffs. Oli Brown has a cool, different style with a neo soul attack at the blues. A super vocalist, Oli delivers Speechless from his Heads I Win Tails You Lose release. A well heeled guitar attack nicely blends with his smooth danceable melodies. Laurence Jones is up on Temptation from his Temptation release. With it's Chicago feel and attack, this is a hot track showing a young man with slashing skills. Mike Zito has great guitar tone and he lays it down here on Voices In Dallas from Gone To Texas. I just had the opportunity to review Zito's release, Songs From The Road and he is a definite performer. Waiting On Daylight by Bart Walker is a solid bluesy ballad from the release of the same name. A well written track with nicely balanced guitar soloing over the vocals, a nice addition to this compilation. The Spin Doctors bring Some Other Man Instead from If The River Was Whiskey and it has a certain country blues rawness giving it a real nice feel. A raw but contained guitar solo sets this track apart from most of the more polished bands on this release. Very cool! Aynsley Lister, Erja Lyytinen and Ian Parker perform Blues Caravan from the Pilgrimage release. A funky blues track with a swampy feel, and harmonized vocals lay down the pavement for a short guitar riff off. Jeff Healey delivers his classic take on I'm Tore Down from Mess Of Blues. Healey was a hot guitar player and a great singer. This is a nice record of Healey during his most productive period. Excellent! Cyril Neville delivers some Swamp Funk from Magic Honey. With it's blend of rock, funk, blues and pure New Orleans, this is a super track. Devon Allman brings Homesick from his Turquoise release. He has a nice guitar hand and smooth vocals. This dark smokey blues rocker shows a nice flavor of Allman's work. Savoy Brown has been a recurring favorite band of mine for years. Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown contribute Nuthin' Like The Blues from Goin' To The Delta. Simmonds holds down lead vocal and lead guitarist spot on this straight forward rocker and Kim shows a little bit of what he can do when he steps on the pedal. Albert Castiglia performs Bad Avenue from the Solid Ground release. This is an excellent choice to profile Castiglia who not only is a solid singer but one of the better blues guitarists on the scene today. Very cool! Wrapping the release is Mr. Luther Allison on Stone's Classic, You Can't Always Get What You Want. Taking this track to the next level Allison coaxes the soul out of it and then lights it on fire with funky blues guitar. An absolutely excellent ending to a really super release!

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