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Hurricane Ruth - The Power of the Blues...Feels Like a Hurricane


8 tracks

Hurricane Ruth blows in as a force 5 hurricane with her power blues and support by a trio of musicians who are ready to keep the hurricane moving. Hurricane Ruth is Ruth LaMaster and she is joined by David Lumsden on guitar, Gary Davis on bass and Jim Engel on drums. Ruth provides the powerful vocals that match up with the band's big rock and blues sound. Recorded mostly live in the studio in the Windy City, the band is filled with energy and is ably led by the dynamic LaMaster.

The CD begins with "Roll Little Sister", a rocker built on the Stones "Dance Little Sister" theme. After the opener I felt this could be an 80's hair band led by a blues woman. It's a jumping tune we've heard in other places but it's a lot of fun and the delivery is big and bold. No pun intended, but LaMaster is apparently a master of this stuff. A stinging slow rocking blues follows; "I'm Gonna Get Evil" has a great big, stinging guitar solo and Hurricane Ruth testifying as to the bad things she is going to do to her man.

"The Power of the Blues...Feels Like a Hurricane" begins with the big guitar intro and Ruth then gets into it with the guitar, she trading her vocals licks off with Lumsden's axe. More big 80's rocking guitar solos abound here once again. Slow blues is up again next with "Let Me Change Your Mind" and Ruth is more than up to the task. She gets down and dirty, really breathy and lustful- well done. But then we get "Mississippi Queen" and it sounds like just another cover band who can't hold a flame to the original. I was hoping Ruth would give it a new and different spin, but it's not much of a change up. "No Worries" returns the set list to the blues and Hurricane Ruth is again in her element. Dirty guitar licks, a nice beat and her gritty vocals meld well together here.

Next up is Sly Stones' "I Want To Take You Higher". I love the minute-plus long guitar intro and later solos that are excellent and Ruth handles the vocals a lot better than the Mountain song; she comes off as a lot more real here than in the other cover. "Shouting" through late 70's and 80's rock song is in her wheelhouse. Lastly we have "The Lesson" which is an in-your-face sort of slow blues with a poignant guitar lead. I like this track a lot, too. Great power guitar and gutsy vocals.

It's got some 80's rock sound to some of it and the "Mississippi Queen" cover seems a little misplaced, but the real criticism I have is that we only get 8 songs to listen to here. I know that was all albums had in the old days, but it seems to be done just as the band is getting started. But it's powerful and has a lot of energy. Ruth's vocals are really good and so is Lumsden on lead guitar. Hard rocking blues fans will find some great tidbits to enjoy here.

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

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