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Rick Ray Band, The: Under The Sky (Plus The Rick Ray Band Live At East Shore Park)

Here’s comes a double whammy from The Rick Ray Band, for not only have they fired out a cleverly constructed new album entitled Under The Sky, but with it comes an utterly fantastic live set from one of the band’s shows at East Shore Park - not that I can find a date in this release to tell you which! What I can tell you though, is that if you’re looking for a high energy blues blast that’s dripping with ‘reeds and wind synthesiser’ and an incredible gift for storytelling, then Under The Sky is sure as hell going to be for you. Deep gritty guitars slice things into action, a hard rock groove hitting precisely but with ever present melodies pulling in the focus, and adding a jazzier edge, the likes of “Were They Ever Here” allows you to take a breather from the good-time grooves.

Rick and Dave “Shaggy” Snodgrass share vocal duties, with the former possessing a gruff, loveable charm, while the latter emits a slightly more cultured, but equally authentic drawl. Often, it really is the wind-work from Rick “Sarge” Schulz that takes centre stage, although that’s not to say that there aren’t still some tasty six-string interludes. However, where things really click for me is when the band mix these excellent styles with some wonderful lyrical tales, “Best From Afar” a lithe little ditty that hooks you in through spoken vocals and a ripping yarn of unfortunate liaisons, although I’m equally as taken by the riffernaut of “It’s Been A While”.

If the studio disc is excellent then the live album rivals it for top billing, a whistle-stop tour of engagingly rough but chiselled sounds hitting hard in the shape of “Killing Time”, “48 Hour Day”, the intricate “Headed To Nowhere” and insistently slithering “Credits Will Roll”. Admittedly as live albums go, while the performances are all you could hope for, the crowd reaction leaves you wondering whether anyone turned up, or if the baying mob were simply kept in a cage at the other end of the venue, so muted is their noise. All of which feels odd, because on this strength, if I’d been in attendance at East Shore watching The Rick Ray Band tearing up the joint as they clearly do, I’d be hollering for more.

This release really is the best of both worlds, highlighting the skills and energy this four piece offer up. Special mention obviously has to go to Rick’s fabulous guitar playing, while I tip my hat to Kip Volans and the manner with which his drumming holds everything together, but the real strength on both albums is the chemistry between all four musicians and the engaging songs they illustrate it through.

Track Listing
Disc 1 - Under The Sky
1. No Remorse 2. 1974 3. Were They Ever Here 4. Lost In The Fog 5. Casualty 6. The Note Police 7. It’s Been A While 8. Best From Afar 9. Where Ever I’ll Be 10. Frozen In Time 11. Absent Friends 12. The First, The Last 13. Manipulated DNA

Disc 2 - The Rick Ray Band Live At East Shore Park
1. Killing Time 2. Society Of Strangers 3. Acrylic Charlie 4. Lunacy Set Free 5. 48 Hour Day 6. As The Room Went Dark 7. Headed To Nowhere 8. All Debts Are Paid 9. Credits Will Role 10. Doomtown Mannequins 11. No More

Added: October 12th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rick Ray online
Hits: 4183
Language: english

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Rick Ray Band, The: Under The Sky (Plus The Rick Ray Band Live At East Shore Park)
Posted by on 2022-10-15 13:26:25
My Score:

The live album was recorded at the ESPC on July21, 2021, in front of an outdoor crowd of about 300-400 people. Audience reaction was mixed - most of the people knew what to expect and thoroughly enjoyed the show, while others (who come to these shows as social events) may not have appreciated what they were seeing, since this was NOT our typical classic rock - cover band concert. The fact that it was outdoors means of course the audience was more distant from the band and mics; that may account for very little crowd noise in the recording. It was a great show in any case, and those who gravitate towards progressive rock were blown away by the performance.

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