A sturdy collection showcasing top musicianship and forward-thinking blues songwriting.
Review by Will Harris
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.
9 out of 10
CD 1: Girls With Guitars
- Bitch (Fish, Taylor, Wilde)
- Bliss Avenue (Dana Fuchs)
- Can’t Keep Living Like This (Joanne Shaw Taylor)
- Down In The Swamp (Samantha Fish)
- Shine (Dani Wilde)
- Try Me (Meena)
- Love Fever (Ana Popovic)
- Stranded In Memphis (Eliana Cargnelutti)
- Never Been Rocked Enough (Joanna Connor)
- Skinny Girl (Erja Lyytinen)
- Show Me (Sue Foley)
- Toughest Girl Alive (Candye Kane and Laura Chavez)
- In The Basement (Foley, Coleman, Potvin)
CD 2: Guys With Guitars
- If You Wanna Leave (Thorbjorn Risager)
- Rock And Roll (Royal Southern Brotherhood)
- Livin’ Every Day (Walter Trout)
- Speechless (Oli Brown)
- Temptation (Laurence Jones)
- Voices In Dallas (Mike Zito)
- Waitin’ On Daylight (Bart Walker)
- Some Other Man Instead (Spin Doctors)
- Blues Caravan (Lister, Lyytinen, Parker)
- I’m Torn Down (Jeff Healey)
- Swamp Funk (Cyril Neville)
- Homesick (Devon Allman)
- Nuthin’ Like The Blues (Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown)
- Bad Avenue (Albert Castiglia)
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Luther Allison)