Various Artists – Ruf Records: 20 Years Anniversary


A sturdy collection showcasing top musicianship and forward-thinking blues songwriting.

Review by Will Harris

Ruf Records

Release date: 29 September 2014

Founded back in 1994 by Thomas Ruf, Germany’s Ruf Records was first begun for the sole purpose of providing a platform for legendary Chicago bandleader Luther Allison. 20 years later, the label now celebrates its enviable stable of artists with a new two-CD compilation.

Split between Girls and Guys, the first disc has all the feel of a wild Saturday night, opening with the supremely gutsy ‘Bitch’, a noisy collaboration by Samantha Fish, Dani Wilde and Joanna Shaw Taylor, and though much of the CD is typified by such guitar-slinging bravado and incendiary lead lines, there’s also space for quieter moments like Fish’s ‘Down In The Swamp’ too.

By comparison the blokes’ CD, filled with heavily southern-flavoured tacks like the Spin Doctors’ ‘Some Other Man Instead’ and Royal Southern Brotherhood’s Skynyrd-esque ‘Rock And Roll’, is perfect for putting rubber to tarmac and flooring the accelerator. The set aptly closes where Ruf Records began, with Luther Allison: but this instead of a misty-eyed sentimental ballad: the late Chicago bluesman’s all-or-nothin’ funk-injected rereading of the Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ is one of the best tracks on the album, and a true example of one of Ruf’s most famous artists at the top of their game.

A worthy tribute to the two-decade history of the label, 20 Years Anniversary is not just a sturdy collection showcasing top musicianship and forward-thinking blues songwriting, but also the perfect starting point for newcomers to the genre looking to discover some of the best blues-rock performers of the modern age.

ruf 20 years9 out of 10

Track listing:

CD 1: Girls With Guitars

  1. Bitch (Fish, Taylor, Wilde)
  2. Bliss Avenue (Dana Fuchs)
  3. Can’t Keep Living Like This (Joanne Shaw Taylor)
  4. Down In The Swamp (Samantha Fish)
  5. Shine (Dani Wilde)
  6. Try Me (Meena)
  7. Love Fever (Ana Popovic)
  8. Stranded In Memphis (Eliana Cargnelutti)
  9. Never Been Rocked Enough (Joanna Connor)
  10. Skinny Girl (Erja Lyytinen)
  11. Show Me (Sue Foley)
  12. Toughest Girl Alive (Candye Kane and Laura Chavez)
  13. In The Basement (Foley, Coleman, Potvin)

CD 2: Guys With Guitars

  1. If You Wanna Leave (Thorbjorn Risager)
  2. Rock And Roll (Royal Southern Brotherhood)
  3. Livin’ Every Day (Walter Trout)
  4. Speechless (Oli Brown)
  5. Temptation (Laurence Jones)
  6. Voices In Dallas (Mike Zito)
  7. Waitin’ On Daylight (Bart Walker)
  8. Some Other Man Instead (Spin Doctors)
  9. Blues Caravan (Lister, Lyytinen, Parker)
  10. I’m Torn Down (Jeff Healey)
  11. Swamp Funk (Cyril Neville)
  12. Homesick (Devon Allman)
  13. Nuthin’ Like The Blues (Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown)
  14. Bad Avenue (Albert Castiglia)
  15. You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Luther Allison)



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