11 songs – 40:41 running time
Richard Ray Farrell’s started his career in Europe as a street musician in 1975 with his first professional gig in 1976. Farrell toured Europe with musicians such as R. L. Burnside, Big Jack Johnson, and Lazy Lester before returning to the States in 2001, however, it would appear that now he hangs his hat in Spain according to his FB page.
This is Richard Ray Farrell’s 6th recording on his own Blues Beet label. Having listened to previous recordings of Farrell on BB King’s Bluesville Sirius Satellite radio station I was anxious to experience a full recording. There is a lot to like here with 8 original songs by Farrell and 3 tasty covers that work well.
The title track opens the show with a tongue in cheek ditty that reminds one of Albert Collins’ classic “Mastercard”. According to Farrell’s press release the song, “…was inspired by a woman Richard met who confessed to having 76 pairs of shoes ranging from $70 to $900.”
Track 3’s “Just Like Sonny Liston” lyrics may be lost on younger listeners not versed in boxing history but “Baby Boomers” will remember when a young Cassius Clay took the heavyweight crown from Liston. With this song’s infectious groove, driving bass and tasty guitar/harmonica leads you might find it hard to sit still when listening to this gem.
“Johnnie’s in Jail” (track 8) is a slow shuffle with a powerful message of justice denied. “Its cold people when they convict the wrong man for a crime cause if ya ain’t got the money and a damn good lawyer you’ll be doin’ real hard time.” The mix of guitar and harmonica on this tune make this haunting tale a tune to make you sit up and take notice.
The two instrumentals showcase Farrell’s amazing guitar prowess. “Road Trippin'” (track 5) highlights his electric guitar work and “Shake It” (track 9) is a must listen for all you slide fans out there.
If boogie woogie piano is your thing “Stir Crazy” (track 10) will satisfy. This song also showcases Farrell’s clever song writing style again while he laments being stuck at home with a woman that just wants to watch television.
Closing the show is, “She’s My Girl” (track 11) which is an upbeat shuffle that continues to show Farrell’s guitar and harmonica playing are up to snuff. This would be a good “date” song or “make-up” song or perhaps even an “our” song for couples.
Farrell recorded this album with Jimmy Pritchard on bass, Michael Kersting on drums, and Glenn McClelland on piano and Hammond organ. Pritchard is known for his work with Sonny Rhodes, Big Jack Johnson, and Lonnie Shields. From Berlin, Germany, Kersting is a sought after drummer who has played with Benny Golson and Tommy Emmanuel. Glenn McClelland, from Lambertville, NJ, has worked with many great musicians while holding down the keyboard position for Blood, Sweat and Tears for the past 20 years.
If you’ve never heard any of Richard Ray Farrell’s work this is a good place to start. This reviewer will be checking out his previous work and looking to catch his live show sometime this summer in the USA where, according to his website, he will be touring from June until October.