20 YEARS ANNIVERSARY
RUF RECORDS RUF 1208
CD 1–GIRLS WITH GUITARS: BITCH–BLISS AVENUE–CAN’T KEEP LIVING LIKE THIS–DOWN IN THE SWAMP–SHINE–TRY ME–LOVE FEVER–STRANDED IN MEMPHIS–NEVER BEEN ROCKED ENOUGH–SKINNY GIRL–SHOW ME–TOUGHEST GIRL ALIVE–IN THE BASEMENT
CD 2–GUYS WITH GUITARS: IF YOU WANNA LEAVE–ROCK AND ROLL–LIVIN EVERY DAY–SPEECHLESS–TEMPTATION–VOICES IN DALLAS–WAITIN ON DAYLIGHT–SOME OTHER MAN INSTEAD–BLUES CARAVAN–I’M TORE DOWN–SWAMP FUNK–HOMESICK–NUTHIN LIKE THE BLUES–BAD AVENUE–YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT
For the 20th anniversary celebration of Ruf Records, label founder Thomas Ruf took a unique approach. He released a double-CD collection, one dedicated to his label’s “Girls With Guitars,” the other to the “Guys With Guitars.” The 28-track overview traces his label’s early days up thru his current talent signings.
We had several favorites over both sets. On the distaff side, it’s hard to beat the leadoff collaboration between Dani Wilde, Samantha Fish, and Cassie Taylor, a rousing cover of the Stones’ “Bitch.” A haunting harp permeates the swampy mood of Dani Wilde’s acoustic “Shine,” while newcomer Eliana Cargnelutti weaves a cool tale of something that ain’t so bad, being “Stranded In Memphis.” Candye Kane gives a great live performance to prove why she’s the “Toughest Girl Alive,” and the set closes with Sue Foley, Roxanne Potvin, and Deborah Coleman taking the funky road down to Sugar Pie DeSanto’s “In The Basement.”
The guys are well-represented, too. Denmark’s Thorbjorn Risager leads off with the slide-driven boogie of “If You Wanna Leave,” while Cyril Neville’s vocal leads the Royal Southern Brotherhood in the roadhouse anthem, “Rock And Roll.” Bart Walker captures the sound and vibe of vintage Southern rock on “Waitin On Daylight,” while the Spin Doctors open a new chapter in their career with the stripped-down blues of “Some Other Man Instead.” The late Jeff Healey gives an absolutely-incendiary read of Freddie King’s “I’m Tore Down,” and the set closes (and comes full-circle) with another Stones cut, this one from the late Luther Allison, without whom there would likely be no Ruf Records. His version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” shows a soulful, funky side of Luther, and, sadly, serves as his final recording.
Ruf Records gives us the “20 Years Anniversary” and it is a fantastic overview of Thomas Ruf’s vision regarding his label’s storied past as well as its bright future. Thanks, Thomas, for twenty great years, and here’s to many more!! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashvile Blues Society.