Here we have another all-star project, this one headed up by Cactus/The Lizards bassist Randy Pratt, vocalist Ed Terry (Stevie Wonder, Sister Sledge, John Oates, Slash, and others) and producer/engineer/guitarist JZ Barrell. The concept of the band is to feature different guest musicians on each album, and for this debut the cast includes guitarists Jesse Berlin, Pat Travers, and Paul Latimer, plus drummers T.C. Tolliver (The Plasmatics) & Neil Cicione. The overall feel of the 9 songs on this debut is funky hard rock, the groove laden tunes proving to be a launching pad for Terry's powerful vocals and plenty of white hot soloing from Berlin & Travers especially. "Tonight" and "Freedom" are a great 1-2 punch to kick off the album, guitar firepower and funky rhythms abound on each, while "Pressure" even brings some horns into the mix for a bluesier feel. The band launch into a bluesy, almost doomy vibe for "On the Road", while "Mist" continues on with those darker tones, images of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Cactus pouring all over the arrangement and a killer vocal from Terry soaring over the top. "Funky Heavy and Tight" is exactly as it states, funky, heavy, and tight, another Cactus inspired slice of groove laden & hard rocking heavy blues, and "Hard Times" is upbeat & melodic, reminding at times of Mr. Big with its soaring vocal harmonies and virtuoso guitar and bass riffs. For the finale, the band launch into "Demons", another dark, heavy blues rock piece with some killer riffs and blazing solos.
Pretty heavy stuff here on this debut release from Ruffyunz, a crunchy blues/funk/hard rock project that is off to a great start thanks to some inspired performances and memorable material. It will be interesting to see who they round up for the follow-up.
4) On the Road
7) Funky Heavy & Tight
8) Hard Times