Blue Beet / Bandwagon

richardrayfarrell Shoe ShoppingThe title track tells you he “can’t afford the expense, she’s got more shoes than sense” over a sparky electric guitar lurch that by design or happenstance draws on the classic Barefootin’. Richard Ray’s got a great blues voice that’s totally at home with the squealing Hohner harmonica on the chugging Stuck In Philly and evocative of guys like the Wolf or Captain Beefheart on Just Like Sonny Liston. Hell, I ain’t no expert but I know what I like when I hear it, and this minimalist back-to-basics collection, mainly composed by Richard using vintage equipment, hits my sweet spot. The sleeve notes recall his 40-years ago European gigs and I’m thinking it might well have been him I saw him on an Amsterdam sidewalk in a blizzard many moons since.


His choices of covers are tasteful – the Snooks Eaglin/Dave Bartholomew co-write If I Could and Elmore James’ Wild About You Baby – totally different selections stylistically, performed with care and affection, showing different sides of RRF’s guitar and vocals. I really enjoyed this, Richard – thanks – and I’m looking forward to living with it in the future. If I ever make it to Pennsylvania, I’ll look you up, pal.