Ray Wylie Hubbard makes feisty, full-blown booming Texas roots Americana music of the finest order. With his acoustic and slide guitar aided by producer and good friend, Gurf Morlix (electric guitar, vocals), Rick Richards (percussion, drums) and George Reiff (bass) with guests Ray Bonneville, Jeff Plankenhorn, Peter Rowan, Seth James and Jack Saunders —the rhythm and gritty drive of the music is relentless.
Hubbard leaves no hiding place as his songs speak of old times, back roads, resurrection and how the devil and god are present in people —spiced with a little RWH philosophy. One minute he prefers the blues and getting funky before he turns his attention to that of the barrooms or the backwoods of the rural south as underlined on the harmonica and soulful vocals (Ruthie Foster) assisted ‘Resurrection’. It has him strike out in familiar fashion. A down and dirty country, blues rock melody bettered only by that on ‘Old Guitar’ and, though a mite more mellow ‘Wild Gods Of Mexico’ with its lower, mystical feel it likewise has Hubbard and the boys deliver the goods. Otherwise, the album didn’t quite strike me till I had heard the songs a number of times, the smouldering bluesy ‘Heartaches And Grease’ that has since become one of my favourite cuts and the likes of ‘Rabbit’ and ‘Polecat’number among the slow burners. On reflection they lend a little needed diversity rather than detract from Ray’s music —the latter featuring some dramatic slide, acoustic guitar and Rowan’s mandolin is a real bruising piece. Whatever, the album tends to get stronger as the songs lend themselves to the unrelenting style of music I most admire from Ray Wylie. Where a wonderful strength of lyrics and a feeling of space are obtained. ‘The Way Of The Fallen’ containing great drive and a swampy southern feel and intense ‘Kilowatts’ —possessing searing guitar and a stomping rhythm cook up a storm that his fans have learned to love.