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RAY WYLIE HUBBARD —TELL THE DEVIL I AM GETTING THERE AS FAST AS I CAN (Bordello Records / Thirty Tigers)

ANOTHER ALBUM OF THE MONTH

http://www.raywyliehubbard.com

 

Texas-based Americana singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard when it comes to music, and his life too is he's a living phenomena. Oklahoma-born and long-time Austin, TX resident the 70-year-old Hubbard after turbulent times of the 1970s he shook of his addictions and reinvented himself. He was turning the Americana furrow before it became in- vogue. His relentless wall-to-wall rhythms and wild, and sometimes dark and scary lyrics are potent enough to blow the cap off an oil well.

 

Country, blues and folk meet at the crossroads on many of the occasions, songs like “Dead Thumb King”. Here he speaks of having some dirt from Lightnin’ Hopkins grave and bones from an old black crow and a bouquet of fourteen black roses and drinks ginseng weed, sulphur and honey. “God Looked Around” that opens the record is his tilt on a biblical story of another kind. One where he asks and deliberates over lots of questions regards the story of creation, and he gets to explain his thinking. Talk about drama and wild imagery little comes close to a Ray Wylie Hubbard classic. I would love to hear him and Ray Bonneville record! 

 

Among the ingredients of the album you have blues greats, religious darkness, folklore and mystical edge of one of Texas’ neighbouring states, Louisiana; plus the musical influence of the Mississippi Delta and beyond. Assisting Hubbard you have his electric lead guitar playing son, Lucas Hubbard, Kyle Schneider (drums)Jeff Plankenhorn (dobro, mandolin), Bukka Allen (B3 organ), and on bass Mike Morgan and Pat Manskee. With producer George Reiff having passed away and another who has produced his work, Gurf Morlix working in Canada - Hubbard found himself in the driving seat. He has made a mighty fine job too, for one he’s given the record among the tough and fierce passages of music beautiful subtlety.

 

“Tell The Devil I’m Getting’ There As Fast As I Can” is a powerful story. He speaks of one night playing support for Sun Volt and compares being in love with a  woman he met that night to living in a thunderstorm. And how she plays an old sunburst in an alt-country band as he tells the devil he is getting there as fast as he can. Accompanying him on vocals on the song you have the complementary pairing of Eric church and Lucinda Williams, and oodles of electric lead guitar and swirling B3-organ. Gritty country folk act Patty Griffin joins Ray Wylie on a painstaking “In Times Of Cold”. Her tones ensure the song makes it home safely. The record isn’t one where one song runs into another, although he does have the ability to forge such grooves; only on this album he doesn’t stick to any one mainline, as he takes the listener along a branch line or two. The wonderful ghost-like story “House Of The White Rose Bouquet” was written with the classic mysterious tale of “Long Black Veil” in mind) and “The Rebellious Sons”. Performed with special guests, Austin-based psych-rock band, Bright Lights Social Hour he kicks up a ruckus as he dabbles with a little folklore. 'Basically, I sat down with the intent to write this mythological, Holy Grail / Games Of Thrones king of thing, and then invited the boys because I knew they would be perfect for it' says Hubbard. You might think it is so strong and punishing and likely to win the accolade as the strongest on display, but you had best think again! “Wolf“ (as in Howlin' Wolf) that follows has a clean-cut groove like no other, as it stokes up a relentless cool as you like rhythm and rattling fine lead guitar to aid some of the best vocals on the record by Hubbard.        

 

Other noteworthy songs include the dobro warmed “Prayer”, and his tribute to infamous blues men John Koerner, Dave “Snaker” Ray and “Little Sun” Glover “Spider, Snaker And Little Sun”. Immediately afterwards “Lucifer And The Fallen Angels” speaks of going to Nashville, and putting a publisher in jail. It's an epic, and with addictive swirling guitar at the forefront RWH presses home in relentless fashion. Same goes for the song he wrote about under praised bluesman Koerner and his friends. So vivid is the tale, you feel like you went to the show by the boys. While fans of open tuning Hubbard plays some exquisite slide on “Open G” (this as he explains the beauty, and art of playing that way) and there's more, as he marries Dante-esque flavours with the devils music, the blue, plus folk, country and a wild imagination that near  boils over. 

 

                                                            Maurice Hope  

 

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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