Richard  Ray  Farrell

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

I sing the blues electric, Blue Beet Records (By Terry Clear)

Here's the latest offering from a man who really knows how to play the blues, and every album he produces is totally different from the last. This latest CD has twelve original tracks, all of them written by Richard Ray, and all of them excellent. The album opens with "Ol' Man Blues'" a slow blues with a bit of New Orleans flavour to it - in fact in the opening few lines Farrell sounds like Dr John. This track has Farrell on vocals, guitar, and harmonica, and there is some lovely tinkling piano from Bill Heid.

The tempo picks up for "Cherry On The Cream" all about a wonderful woman, the sweetest little girl that he has ever seen. And the tempo picks up even more with "Bad As You Wanna Be", a jump blues with upright bass to the fore, played by Mike Lampe. There's no way that you can listen to this track and sit still!

I've long thought that this man Farrell is at his very best when picking and sliding on the guitar, and here he really pushes that point home with the delightful "Memphis Bound" - you could easily buy this CD for this one track, and then the other eleven tracks would be a fantastic bonus.

Things slow down with a nice ballad on track five, "Starting Over Again", an unusual mix (for Richard Ray Farrell) of blues and soul.

This CD is such a mix of different styles and tempos, that it catches your ear and it doesn't let go until the very end of track twelve. "Listening To The Falling Rain" sounds like it could have come straight from the pen of Van Morrison, a moody ballad with haunting piano work and great lyrics.

On to "Leisure Man," a slow blues that could easily have come from the late 1950s, all about a man who lets a variety of women look after him. Richard Ray showcases his harmonica playing to good effect on this track.

Farrell takes us back to the jump blues route with "Steady Eatin' Woman" a song with some really great humorous lyrics about a woman who is eating her man out of house and home. The just when you think you've heard all that this man has to offer with different styles, he hits you with a rocking blues called "Little Suzie" straight from 1955 - jiving music at it's best! And then he does it all again on track ten with a jazz influenced "Sweet Dreams (of you)."

The album finishes off with a jump blues instrumental called "Skitchin' ", followed by a 1920s flavoured "Ride That Freedom Train" with Brian Cox on sousaphone - he was also playing this instrument on track one, but it stands out a lot more on this track - and some vocals from Jeannie Brooks, Carol Brooks and Georgie Bond.

If I had to make just one comment on this album, I'd say "it won't let you get bored,"but there's a lot more to it than that - so many different styles and influences.

Terry Clear