Hurricane Ruth – Ain’t Ready For The Grave
Hurricane Ruth Records (Self Released)
Hurricane Ruth LeMaster is a woman tall in her vocal stature. Her voice blares out from her small frame, earning her the “Hurricane” moniker. She exudes a powerful presence in her approach to singing, blending the blues with rock and soul and high energy country. Sonically, she is a banshee, but with great charm and appeal attached to that powerful sound
This production is by Tom Hambridge, where he played a part in writing all but one of the songs. The other is a stratospheric rock cover. He also plays drums for the album. Also joining Ruth are Reese Wynans on B3 and other keys, Michael Rhodes on bass. Pat Buchanan and Rob McNelley on guitars, and the McCrary sisters and Wendy Moten on backing vocals.
Ruth begins with “Barrehouse Joe’s,” a jumping piano-based tune with she and Reese Wynans giving it their all. She growls out the lyrics and Wynans fingers were on fire on the keys. “Hard Rockin’ Woman” continues to fan the flames and keep things way up tempo. This blues rocker has Ruth screaming at the top of her lungs to a driving beat. Guitar and piano blaze and support her in this hard driving cut about a hard rockin’ woman. Things then settle down with “Far From The Cradle;” it opens to a distant guitar playing solo and then Ruth comes in with Wynans as the guitar continues off in the distance. It’s thoughtful and quite cool; a very nice, slow blues with an excellent piano solo and support. And that guitar off in the distance is also pretty nicely done. The fourth cut gets back to the big, driving beat and electric guitar. “Estilene” is a song about a woman chasing married men and warnings to her about her habits. Ruth sells it convincingly in this mid temp rocking blues. Wynans’ switches to the B3 here, but it’s the big guitar solo that shines in this one.
“Beekeeper” is a song filled with bee, honey and nectar dibble entendres where Hambridge starts things off on the skins and then Ruth and the band join forces to get things really moving. The B3, guitar and backline drive things nicely in her support, and this time the B3 gets featured on the solo. The tempo once again drops for a nice, slow and pensive blues in “My Heart Aches for You.” Here we have the B3 big again and the guitar off in the sunset. Wynans is stellar here, building the organ sound up in intensity and fire and LeMaster joins him on the vocals in an intense way. Ruth brings it down a bit for a few bars, setting up a fiery and intense finish. “Cheating Blues” is a mid tempo cut that LeMaster masters and guitar and organ help in a big way. Another big but contained guitar solo spices the cut up well. The pace goes up with “Whole Lotta Rosie” where Ruth seems in her element rocking it out. Huge guitar lick trade off with her vocals and lead into another massive guitar solo that, while maybe not as fiery as the AC/DC original, is blues and cool unto itself.
“For A Change” is a change; things get calmer and more subdued. A little fuzziness on the guitar, a little restraint from Ruth and overall an interesting and it’s a well-done ballad with an ethereal side to it. “Let Me Be The One” is a sweet shuffle where Ruth explains that the other woman she refers to doesn’t want the listener and asks to be the one. Lots of shuffling and some soloing on guitar and Wynans adds some dirty organ to the mix to make it more interesting. “Good Stuff” is a another medium paced blues rocker that gets the groove going and keeps the listener’s attention. The McCrary Sisters backing vocals are big and well done here. A quick and dirty guitar solo is followed by an equally quick organ solo and then Ruth and the girls return and then let the band take us out. Hurrican Ruth goes Gospel to complete the set. “Yes, I Know” features Ruth testifying with the McCrary’s and the band. The first minute and 15 slowly sets things up for a switch in pace to a jumping Gospel performance. It’s a great contrast to the rest of the CD and it’s just a fun tune. Piano support is nicely woven into the mix along with the organ; Wynans was busy; then the guitar appears as a nice punctuation to the solos. Ruth and company takes things out is a dervish of sound and fun.
It’s a heart stopping ride with a few respites for allowing the pulse to settle down that also shows diversity and contrast in tempo and style. Ruth is a fantastic blues rocker and with this great band behind here and a super production she shines as bright as a star. It’s a fun album that takes her rock edge and nicely blends blues and other influences to produce a set of great sounding tunes from top to bottom. Her fans will love it and those new to Ruth will get a fantastic lesson into what she is all about. If you like good, hard driving music with intensity, then look no further!