Hurricane Ruth review…September 9, 2014…

HURRICANE RUTH

BORN ON THE RVER

SELF-PRODUCED

BORN ON THE RIVER–MAKE LOVE TO ME–SLOW BURN–THE WALLS–DANCE DANCE NORMA JEAN–MONEY TRAIN–COLD DAY IN HELL–BIG HELEN–WORK IT–WHISKEY CHUTE–REAL GOOD WOMAN

Ruth LaMaster was born in Beardstown, IL, a small town situated along the Illinois River.  She got the moniker “Hurricane Ruth” when fans found it hard to believe that such a powerful voice could come from a woman of such small stature.  The great Willie Dixon summed her up even better–“Ruth, you are the only hurricane I can appreciate!”

Her music is borne of that river, and the stories of the people who live along it and draw their livelihoods from it–honest, hard-working people who enjoy some gritty, tough blues to help them unwind at the end of the day.

On “Born On The River,” Ruth gives ’em just that–eleven originals with a decidedly-hard edge, perpetuated by the fiery guitar stylings of David Lumsden.  Gary Davis and Jim Engel round out the foursome, on bass and drums, rspectively, and they let Ruth’s mighty vocals lead the way.

She starts off with the crunch of the title cut, basically an autobigraphy, as the river was always a part of her dreams as a child and her coming-of-age, and, seemingly always will be.  David has a huge, stinging solo at the turn on this one, too.

There are some hard-lovin’ women in these grooves, too, and Ruth shares their hard-luck stories.  A lover who’s gone for good causes “The Walls of this house to close in on me,” with another hell-bent break from David.  Ruth comes on strong in the passionate punch of “Make Love To Me,” and, in the set-closer, reminds everyone that she’s “A Real Good Woman,” lookin’ for that special someone to “share the love you save!”

There are some good times to be had on that river, too.  The working men are all familiar with “Big Helen” and her stable of “charmers,” set over a danceably-funky groove.  And, a trip down to the “Whiskey Chute” is a sure way to drown your pain!

Our favorite was easy.  A safe way to let off steam in this small town is to put on some records or the radio for some cleansing music.  “Mama ” danced to ’em all—Little Richard, Fats, Chuck, Muddy, and many more—while “Daddy was at the tavern!”  This is the serious, boogie-chillen thump of “Dance Dance Norma Jean,” one huge slice of fun!

Well, let’s “fire one up and knock back a few”  and celebrate the great blues of Hurricane Ruth and “Born On The River!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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