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Rich Hynes - Rollin’ Along

Underground Record Shop

12 tracks - Total time: 35:30

Multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Rich Hynes is one of Indianapolis’s roots music driving forces, a player, vocalist and composer whose creative efforts embrace blues, country folk and rockabilly. He also hosts the “Radio Free Indy” roots music show on local public radio station WICR, and runs the vintage vinyl Underground Record Shop, also in Indy. On Rollin’ Along Hynes plays acoustic 6- and 12- string guitar, mandolin, harp, washboard, stone jug, kazoo, tenor banjo and drums. He’s joined here by the Rollers, a band that consists of these Indianapolis-area veteran players: drummers Tim Duffy and Mark Cutsinger, electric/electric slide guitarist Tim Gibson, electric bassists Dave Calloway and Tom Creviston, and standup bassist Mike Strauss. All the songs on Rollin’ Along are Rich Hynes originals.

Rollin’ Along is essentially a folk album with contemporary features, with 11 of its 12 tracks expressive of old-timey blues with an admixture of elements from old-timey country. Older listeners are likely to find the CD reminiscent of 1960s folk, with five of these 11 tracks that feature drums, and also the five of the 11 featuring Gibson’s electric guitar (all but two of them the same tracks) recalling the acoustic-electric folk-rock of the 1970s. The last track, “Rockabilly Hero,” is in a class by itself—a jumping, bopping re-creation of mid-1950s rockabilly, a tribute to the genre with a local inspiration, Art Adams, Indianapolis inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame who first recorded in 1953 and is still going strong.

These 11 tracks can be divided into four categories. The first comprises four storytelling songs: the opening track, “The New Railroad,” on crossing musical and racial boundaries to jam with and influence each other that ends with Leadbelly influencing Woody Guthrie influencing Bob Dylan; track 3, “The New Yank Rachell Blues,” a biographical song about this great bluesman who was a seminal influence on Indianapolis’s blues scene from the 1960s on; track 4, “Willie Johnson,” the tale of a 99-year-old man dying after living a full life right to the end; and track 6, “The Legend of Spidey Jack,” the story of a small-town musician who hits the big time. Then there is the inevitable category on any blues album of “bad love” songs, here represented by three tracks: track 5, “Red Headed Stepchild Blues,” about leaving a bad woman; track 7, “Why Do I Lie To Me,” about fooling oneself over a lover who’s gone; and “Corinna Lee,” a bittersweet tale of recalling a first love amidst present adversity. Two of the songs are harp solos that are reminiscent of Sonny Boy Williamson II’s solo efforts: the up-tempo track 2, “One Man Boogie;” and track 9, the slow “Mooney Boy Williamson.”

Rounding out the categories are two ruminative folk miscellany: track 10, a half-jocose look at adversity as represented by the dropping of an atom bomb, a disciplinary kick in the pants by Grandma, and stepping into dog poop; and track 11, “Universal Blues,” on fate, resignation and the Eternal Return. Altogether making Rollin’ Along a CD of note. .

Reviewer George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, home of blues legends Yank Rachell and Leroy Carr. He has written a regular music column for several years. He wrote the liner notes for Yank Rachell’s Delmark album, Chicago Style. He has been a blues and pop music contributor for the left-wing press as well, and has appeared in Against the Current and Socialism and Democracy.

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