Ricky Gene Hall & The Goods - Bam
Yard Dawg Records
12 songs; 45:15 minutes; Meritable
Style: Southern Blues-Rock
“Don’t let your mouth write checks that your rear-end can’t cash!” Those are the words said to me whenever I would get a little too big for my britches. You may have heard something similar; after all, it is a universal theme. Kentucky born, now Ohio resident Ricky Gene Hall is well knowledgeable about the concept as humorously expressed in the title track to his second CD on Yard Dawg Records:
“When I was just a school boy out on the school playground / The schoolyard bully liked to push everyone around / One day I got the nerve, and the words fell from my mouth / Now it’s hard to speak with my two teeth knocked out / (Chorus)BAM! I was in it, and it hardly took a minute for things to take a sudden turn of the worse / I know I won’t forget it, and it’s high time I admit it / At times I know this mouth of mine is surely sometimes cursed / Silence is golden; talk is cheap / Your mouth can make a promise that you can’t keep!”
“Bam” is what I call “Southern Blues-Rock.” While the music is not “Blues” enough to satisfy purists, it is neither Country enough nor Rock enough for those purists either. It is thankfully blues and roots based, mixing Roots Rock, Blues, Country, and Swamp Funk. Hall sings in an endearing gravel-drawl, wrote nine of the twelve songs, and plays guitar and harmonica that clearly lean on 12-bar influences. Tom Martin on bass and Rocky Evans on drums round out the roadhouse trio.
Similarities to Delbert McClinton can be heard, especially in the likeable vocals on the McClinton/Johnny Neal-penned “Read Me My Rights.” It is a syncopated beat with Hall’s slippery slide guitar underscoring. He also blows some nice harp on this track
A cover of Huey Lewis’ “Bad Is Bad” is a surprise almost as big as Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses.” Both are at least better than the over reaching “Revelation Radio” which dabbles in Gospel while telling of a preacher with a black belt.
The real strength of the CD is in the original tracks. Hall kicks off the album with some fine Country Rock tunes “Way I Feel” and “Noth’n At All” that define the style. “Real Fine Woman” is perfect for dancing a boozy shuffle with bottle in hand. “This Old Guitar” slows the tempo to showcase a ballad full of metaphor. Blues fans should enjoy the set closer “Blues Leave Me Too,” a slow number with sweet guitar licks.
Fans of the Parnell brothers, Lee Roy and Rob Roy, as well as Delbo and Lew Jetton will welcome Ricky Gene Hall into their club. Indeed, there is plenty here to enjoy, especially for folks who spent the 1970s pleasurably in the Southern Rock camp.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Thursdays from 7 - 8 pm and Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL
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