Review: Ray Fuller And The Bluesrockers – Live at Buddy Guy’s Legends Chicago

Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014


Ray Fuller And The Bluesrockers – Live at Buddy Guy’s Legends Chicago

( Azuretone Records)

Ray is an old hand that has come up the hard way and mostly in the shadows; he grew up in New Albany, Ohio. He began strumming a guitar at the age of eight; his first exposure to the blues was from the British bands and musicians that arrived in America in the sixties, he played particular attention to the first album in his collection, a John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers release that featured a young Eric Clapton, from then on he was addicted to the music.

As time passed and he delved deeper into the music, he encountered the music of such now legendary artists as; John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Elmore James.

After completing his studies at The Columbus College of Art he formed his first band in 1974 and over the next twenty years the music evolved, matured and distilled like fine wine by being played all across the state of Ohio, in due course he opened many a concert for artists such as; Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as his aforementioned idols.

Apart from a brief respite for his divorce in 1995 he and the band continued to tour extensively across America. Whilst with the Rounder record label, he struck gold with two albums; one in 1989 and the other in 1992 with “Damn Guitars” and “Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers Live”.

He continued performing in the same vein until 2010 when he began to focus more on his slide working skills which have over the last four years thrust him into the limelight and culminated in him and the band headlining at Buddy Guy’s Legends on the 27th April, 2013.

Joining Ray; vocals and guitars are; Keith Blair; keyboards and piano, Glen ‘Manny’ Manuel; bass, Mark Ward; drums and Richard ’Doc’ Malone; harmonica, together they gloriously rip and tear through twelve originals and standards.

The approach of Ray and the band is simple take the music by the scruff of the neck, shake and stir until ready to serve to a hungry and panting audience, then deliver a raucous addictive mixture of blues, r&b and rock’n’roll.

The first number, the Elmore James “Wild About You Baby”, roars out of the speakers with a searing and barking slide that is relentlessly chased by a duo of gnashing, biting harmonica and Hammond organ. Rays’ blasting, supercharged twangin’ guitar work on “Rock n Roll Cowboy”, drives the audience into a frenzy and without giving anybody a chance to breathe, his ferocious slide work combined with a scowling, prowling harmonica and Hammond, hammers John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom”, into the hungry but, reeling audience.

A chance to rest and recuperate is given with the slow burning “Love and Alcohol”, a somewhat tinkling, dreamy piano and sozzled twangin’ guitar tell the familiar tale of woe, a mean spirited harmonica only adds to the sadness. The tramping, slowburning “Feelin’ Evil”, pairs a haunting, wailing harmonica with a searing finger burning slide while in the background a rolling, tumbling barroom piano only adds to the ache. This is a very fine goodtime toe tapper.



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