Review: 20 Years Anniversary – Various Artists

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 5, 2014


20 Years Anniversary – Various Artists

(Ruf Records: RUF 1208)

Here’s a compilation with something for everyone, celebrating 20 years of Thomas Ruf’s label – and it’s a two disc release, featuring the label’s male and female artists – hence we have CD1 entitled “Girls With Guitars, and CD2 . . . yes, you guessed it . . . “Guys With Guitars”. Now established as one of the blues most prestigious labels, this release spans those 20 years over its 28 tracks, a lot firmly in the ‘blues rock’ territory that has brought Ruf Records a lot of success.

It must have been hard to trim down the potential track list, but in a nutshell what we have are artists in at the beginning such as the late Luther Allison, Sue Foley, Candye Kane, Joanna Connor to name but a few; with newer signings such as The Royal Southern Brotherhood – also solotracks from band members Mike Zito, Devon Allman and Cyril Neville – Dana Fuchs, Albert Castiglia and Thorbjorn Risager. It’s nice to see some UK representation from Joanne Shaw Taylor and Dani Wilde on the ladies disc, and Oli Brown and Laurence Jones on the gents.

A few highlights are the tough opening cover of The Rolling Stones “Bitch” from Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde; the great Candye Kane, with Laura Chavez performing “Toughest Girl Alive”; the opening track on the second disc from Denmark’s Thorbjorn Risager features “If You Wanna Leave” from his “Too Many Roads” current release; and also Florida-based guitarist Albert Castiglia, with “Bad Avenue” from his “Solid Ground” album – one of my favourite releases so far this year.

For anyone new to the Ruf Records artists, a highly recommended ‘primer’ for further listening!


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