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Richard Ray Farrell & Marco Pandolfi
Stuck On the Blues

Blue Beet Records

By Ben Cox
Run Time: 47:3

 After turning in one of 2006’s best acoustic blues albums with Steve Guyger, Richard Ray Farrell comes back with a different partner and a different approach on “Stuck On the Blues.” Farrell found his Italian-born harmonica master while on tour in Europe a few years back, and in Farrell’s own words put together this “long overdue” project.

Farrell handles all the vocal and guitar work while Pandolfi is his echo on the harmonica throughout. Remarkably, with one large ocean and thousands of miles apart, this duo sounds comfortably relaxed and sounds like they’ve been playing on each other’s front porch for years. Demonstrating a wide array of influences, Farrell & Pandolfi gives the listener every asset of acoustic, country blues one could imagine. However, at its best, the two players sound like they are just jamming together and having a good time. Placed up against the Guyger disc of last year, this album falls a little bit short in sound and inspiration.

With Farrell’s voice conjuring a John Hammond feel, four of the fourteen tracks are penned by Farrell himself with the rest coming from the wide array of influences. With only one song sounding completely out of place a little misarranged, there are a few gems to be found in the rough of this very relaxed album. The Lightnin’ Hopkins “I Once Was a Gambler” which Farrell notes he learned from Mississippi Hill Country Legend RL Burnside turns in some of the best guitar-harmonica coupling on the disc, with a low down and dirty rambling feel that suits any of Hopkins’ catalog. Another rambling show of genius is the Big Bill Broonzy cover “Make My Getaway” that as Farrell says demonstrates a lot of atmosphere and some great moaning rhythm harmonica from Pandolfi. Pandolfi also demonstrates some genius lending some Charlie Musselwhite-inspired jazz influence to the Blind John Davis cover “Honey Babe.” Farrell shows us his penchant signature on the oft-non-covered Robert Johnson tune “Phonograph Blues” by conjuring the brilliance and nuance of Delta guitar, but at 4:22 seems a bit too long and uncharacteristic of the source.

The only real fault I find in the disc is that it seems to lumber along a bit in the middle tracks and the players seem entirely too comfortable and are unchallenged. In a duo, often times the best compliment for the group is the push-and-pull feel created in the compositions. Pandolfi seems to wrap around Farrell’s work and doesn’t seem to add to it. However, one might say this is the object of his brilliance. Either way, if you’re a fan of acoustic blues this one is still worth giving a listen if not for the gems mentioned above but for the timelessness of the songs that have been chosen.

 Album is available on all major record outlets or visit Richard Ray Farrell at and visit Marco Pandolfi at his website at

 Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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