Ruff Kutt Blues Band review May 16, 2013….

RUFF KUTT BLUES BAND

THAT’S WHEN THE BLUES BEGINS

VIZZTONE   VTRK 2013

DEEP ELAM BLUES–BLUES IN MY BLOOD–DON’T IT MAKE YOU CRY–OH WOMAN–DOWN SO LOW–BARE FOOT BLUES–BLUES AIN’T A COLOR–THAT’S WHEN THE BLUES BEGINS–THAT WOMAN GIVES ME FEVER–GONG TO BLUESVILLE–TOUCHED BY HER FLAME–LET’S DANCE–WHEN A BLUESMAN GOES TO HEAVEN

 

“…And that was another good ‘un from the Ruff Kutt boys.  This is ol’ Bill “The Hossman” Allen, coming at you from deep in the heart of Dixie on the 50,000 watts of WLAC.  Now, I gotta go sell some Hadacol and some baby chicks, but I’ll be right back with more of the best in today’s blues…”

 

That’s the feeling we got while listening to the latest from the Ruff Kutt Blues Band, “That’s When The Blues Begins.”  Any of these fourteen original band cuts would have been right at home on WLAC back in the day, with a deep, bluesy R & B groove that literally drips from each song.

 

The cast of players are All-Star caliber, as well.  The band is the brainchild of bassist James Goode, himself an inductee in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and he brings together Finis Tasby and Zac Harmon on vocals, the sweet blues guitar of Anson Funderburgh, Wes Starr on drums, Ron Jones on sax, and John Street on keys.

 

These two dynamite singers split lead duties on the album.  Sadly, Finis would suffer a stroke in December of 2012, and these serve, at least for now, as his last works.  He really lets loose on these, tho, and especially on the slow blues of the leadoff “Deep Elam Blues” and the tale of “bein’ Down So Low my belly’s on the ground.’ The piano and Anson’s guitar lends a New Orleans feel to Finis’ story of a night of drinking which leads to “waking up with no money and no shoes,” and, thus, “The Bare Foot Blues.”

 

The title cut finds Zac and the backing chorus in a near-gospel mode, describing the feeling when love has walked out the door.  His autobiography is the uptown swing of “Going To Bluesville,” where “B. B. is the King,” and he closes the set with “When A Bluesman Gets To Heaven.”  It works over a Jimmy Reed-ish riff and mentions many legends one might expect to jam with in Heaven’s blues band.

 

Our favorite was one of Zac’s tunes.  “Blues Ain’t A Color” is a life lesson that shows when bad luck hits and you’re left on your own, it doesn’t matter who you are, the feeling is the same for us all.

 

The Ruff Kutt Blues Band melds the vintage R & B of WLAC with today’s contemporary sounds with a classic line-up.  And, most importantly, “That’s When The Blues Begins” is a set that’s definitely keepin’ the faith!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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