Richard Ray Farrell and The Spanish Band - Camino de Sanlucar
Camino de Sanlucar was recorded live in Seville Spain and mixed in the US. Farrell busked and worked his way across Europe after graduating high school in Niagara Falls, New York. He paid his dues in subways and beer halls, playing solo, in bands, and backing Delta legends along the way. Each of the musicians in The Spanish Band has been playing blues, rock, jazz, flamenco, and combinations of the above. Raimundo Amador, an innovator in modern flamenco and in flamenco/blues fusion is a special guest, appearing on three tracks.
The CD has liner notes in Spanish and in English. It is interesting to note that the English is not a translation of the Spanish. The Spanish liner notes provide very brief information on the artists and give descriptions of each track. The English liner notes provide more detail on the musicians and no information on the tracks. Perhaps there was a thought that listeners in Spain knew the musicians but were not familiar with the songs and that Americans would not be familiar with the musicians but would know the songs. Perhaps.
As with anyone not born into a regional blues tradition, Farrell displays an eclectic mix of blues styles. “Crazy Over You”, written by Farrell, is a barrelhouse rock in the vein of Jerry Lee Lewis. “Look Whatcha Done” was written by Magic Sam. There is a good guitar solo and ends with a great interplay between guitar and piano. This version has a slight Texas twang.
“Never Make Your Move Too Soon” features a slide guitar and a New Orleans style piano solo. “Jump Back Baby” is the first track featuring Raimundo Amador. It has a fast Chicago style rhythm. My favorite line is, “the way you treat me baby is worse than doin’ time.”
“Shuckin’”, written by Farrell is a rocking piano boogie instrumental with good guitar licks. It is actually my favorite on this CD. “As The Years Go Passing By” is a true blues standard. There is a nice piano intro and ends with Amador’s guitar solo.
“Down In Virginia” is another foot stomping barrelhouse rocker with Farrell doing double duty on guitar and harmonica. “Everybody’s Gotta Change” is a blistering upbeat tune heavy on percussion with organ and guitar. “Cryin’ Won’t Help You” starts on a strong Delta style 4/4 groove and goes on from there.
“Pretty Baby” is another track with a Texas twang. On this song Farrell voice sounds rather strained. “The Thrill Is Gone” is a little smoother and jazzier than the well known BB King version. It works. The title track, “Camino de Sanlucar” is an instrumental with a Delta/Piedmont fusion feel.
Overall, Camino de Sanlucar is a good CD. The energy from recording live shines through in the mix. If Richard Ray Farrell and the Spanish Band appears on a blues festival marquee in your area I would recommend that you check them out.
Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.