Album Review for Ruf Records25 Years Anniversary, released through Ruf Records.

I’m not a great fan of label samplers these days. Back in the day labels like Island, Atlantic and CBS produced some real classics. Anyone remember Nice Enough To Eat? But of late they seem to have become rather one-paced and bland as labels specialise is limited forms of music. This one, however, is very different.

Ruf has been one of the prime movers behind the resurgence in blues music in Europe in the last quarter-century. If it wasn’t for Thomas Ruf artists like Laurence Jones, Dani Wilde, Oli Brown and Ian Parker may never have gotten their international careers off the ground and similarly, we may never have heard the likes of Samantha Fish, Mike Zito, Luther Allison in Europe at all.

This collection includes a CD and a DVD with completely different artists on each. The CD has a fair few names I’ve heard plenty of, including Samantha Fish, Bernard Allison, Savoy Brown and covers an incredible range of styles and forms of Blues.

My favourite track, Low Down is a gorgeous piece of New Orleans boogie by the B.B. King Blues Band which features the most amazing tuba bass riff. Add to that some righteous slide from Mike Zito and some outrageous boogie-woogie from Victor Wainright and you’ll find yourself exhausted after 53 minutes of serious dancing.

The DVD features many of the Live From The Road releases including an awesome version of Royal Southern Brotherhood’s Moonlight Over The Mississippi. Dana Fuchs Bliss Avenue is superb and a personal favourite, as is Joanne Shaw Taylor’s Diamonds In The Dirt.

It is remarkable just how much music has come out of Thomas Ruf’s label and on this collection, I really cannot see a duffer. Unless you actually have all the albums and DVD’s, this is essential.

Album Review by Andy Snipper

For More Info – Ruf Records