Richard  Ray  Farrell

"The blues will never die, because it's not a fad, it's a way of life."

Camino de Sanlucar Blue Beet (By Jim Hynes)

Richard Ray Farrell & the Spanish Band. From start to finish, Camino de Sanlucar is one of the most energetic, pulsating studio blues recordings released in a while. You're drawn directly to the liner notes where Richard Ray Farrell, the exemplary Bucks County, PA bluesman writes, "Welcome to Andalucia, Spain - the land of Picasso-and yes-progressive blues." Throughout the album the Spanish Band players all deliver fiery backing support to Farrell's sizzling guitar and gutsy vocals.

These aren't just any players. These are the best damn Spanish players. Pepe Bao is the most sought-after bass player in Spain. A bandleader himself, Bao plays just about anything on his bass: jazz fusion, rock and flamenco, just to name a few. Keyboard player Alvaro Gandul has played with the revered guitarist, Raimundo Amador, since he was a teenager. Amador himself plays searing lead guitar on three tracks ('Jump Back Baby," "As the Years Go Passing By" and "The Thrill Is Gone"). He signed with Columbia at age 17, has B.B. King on two of his albums, plays intricate flamenco guitar and sells tons of records. Drummer Quique Porras played with Farrell in 1976. These guys show a flair for the blues and keep it up-tempo throughout.

Farrell spent twenty years in Europe, and in 2007 he recorded Stuck on the Blues in Italy with harmonica whiz Marco Pandolfi. Before that he made a great acoustic record with the harp giant Steve Guyger, Down Home Old School Country Blues.

Farrell mixes original songs with such classics as Jimmy Reed's "Down in Virginia," Magic Sam's "Look Watcha Done" and Junior Parker's "Pretty Baby." Farrell asks, "the disc is full of energy, don't you think?" Yes indeed.

Jim Hynes (2009)