Ruf Records’ mix of blues, soul, and rock can be a welcome addition to any record collection, and this CD/DVD expands its reach. The CD features 13 cuts from the likes of Aynsley Lister, Canned Heat, Luther and Bernard Allison, Omar and the Howlers, and plenty more. There are plenty of highlights, but the surprise of the batch is Larry Garner’s “Where the Blues Turn Black,” a soul-blues that showcases his B.B. King-influenced playing with some of the sweetest bends you’ll ever hear, and a fine vocal.
The DVD is a great representation of what Ruf has been producing recently, with great performances from the likes of Bob Brozman, Robin Trower, and Blues Caravan. There’s also an incendiary “Work No More” from Walter Trout. Another nice surprise here is Ana Popovic’s “Don’t Bear Down On Me.” She definitely brings the heat, and the funk in more than one way. Fans of Sue Foley will also appreciate her performance on “Absolution.” The minor blues turns into a smoldering tune in the middle that lets Foley highlight a soulful, slightly jazzy side we don’t usually get to see or hear. There’s also a treat; a previously unreleased music video for Luther Allison’s “Bad Love.” It’s fun, and reminds us how much the world misses Luther.
This is a must for fans of modern blues. Not only does it contain music by some of the finest players and singers, the DVD alone is worth the price of admission.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Apr ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.