“Superbly played set of traditional blues”. Richard Ray Farrell: Acoustic Roots (Blue Beet) While electric rock blues still reigns supreme thankfully there's still a few diehards who are devoted to keeping the country blues tradition of the 1920's and 1930's alive and kicking. The better practitioners include veterans like John Hammond, Larry Johnson and Paul Geremia and fine young players like Guy Davis, Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood Hart. Add to the short list Richard Ray Farrell whose "Acoustic Roots" finds him digging deep into a superbly played set of traditional blues. Farrell is not exactly a household name as he's been living in Europe since the 70's and only moved back to the States in 2001. He started as a street musician or "busker" eventually working his way to more prestigious gigs touring with the likes of Lazy Lester, Big Jack Johnson, Big Boy Henry, Louisiana Red, Frank Frost, and R.L.Burnside. Farrell has obviously lerned his lessons well and has a real feel for the subtleties and nuances of the country blues he so obviously loves. "Acoustic Roots", recorded live and with no overdubs, is all Farrell as he plays guitar, rack harmonica and takes all the vocals as he covers the songs of Bo Carter, Son House, Blind Boy Fuller, Bukka White, Leroy Carr and others. Farrell plays with grit and conviction as he tackles fine material like Bo Carter's sly "I Want You To Know" with it's gently raggy feel and deft fingerpicking, delivers a heartfelt but rather jaunty version of Blind Lemon's classic "One Dime Blues", plays some superb guitar on Smokey Hogg's "Too Many Drivers" and takes it down to the Delta for a slide soaked rendition of Son House's dark and brooding "Jinx Blues". Other high points include a sensitive reading of Leroy Carr's oft covered "Mean Mistreater" featuring some good harp work and goes back to the always entertaining Bo Carter on the humorous risque blues of "Let's Get Drunk Again". Richard Ray Farrell has a real feel for the great country blues tradition, breathing new life into these timeless songs and hopefully turning on a new generation to the power and beauty of those old time blues. Fans of traditional blues would do well to check out "Acoustic Roots"
Jeff Harris, www.baddogblues.com