AIN’T READY FOR THE GRAVE
HURRICANE RUTH RECORDS
BARRELHOUSE JOE’S–HARD ROCKIN’ WOMAN–FAR FROM THE CRADLE–ESTILENE–BEEKEEPER–MY HEART ACHES FOR YOU–CHEATING BLUES–WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE–FOR A CHANGE–LET ME BE THE ONE–GOOD STUFF–YES, I KNOW
Hurricane Ruth (LaMaster) has always been one of our favorite ladies of the blues due to the passion and fire she brings to all her recordings. For her fourth album, she came to Nashville to work with drummer/producer/writer Tom Hambridge as well as a monster backing band, giving us all some sage advice, that she “might be Far From The Cradle,” but she “Ain’t Ready For The Grave.” She combined her own witty writing talents with those of Tom, Richard Fleming, and Scott Holt for these twelve originals, running the gamut from good-time party blues, slow-burners, and a shot of Sunday-morning fire and fury!
Along with Tom on drums, we’ve got Reese Wynans all over the keys, Michael Rhodes on the bass, and the double-shot of Pat Buchanan and Rob McNelly on guitars. This party rocks you all right and all night, kickin’ off with the bon temps roulet of ol’ “Barrelhouse Joe’s,” where you got your “Jack on ice,” and “the Rhythm Kings are here!” Some deep, soul-satisfying slide guitar defines Ruth’s biography, tellin’ us she was a “rebel without a cause,” the fine, fine “Hard Rockin’ Woman.”
There are some good examples of women with agendas, too. First up is the scratchy funk of “Estilene,” with an eye for us married guys, while that hot chick that checks in at “42-39-56” has sho’ nuff got it all, “A Whole Lotta Rosie!”
We had two favorites, too. More killer slide guitar paints Ruth’s slow-blues portrait of “Far From The Cradle.” Ruth has a lotta blues left to sing, and urges us all to live life for today, ’cause she “Ain’t Ready For The Grave!” And, the set closes on a foot-stompin, Hallelujah-shoutin’ old-time camp meetin note with Ruth’s gospel fervor of “Yes, I Know,” with Brother Reese’s keys bringin’ it all home!
Hurricane Ruth dedicates this album to her late father, Milt LaMaster, Sr. He owned the Glendale Tavern where her musical career took shape. Like a lot of us, she might be “Far From The Cradle,” but “Ain’t Ready For The Grave!!” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.