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Hurricane Ruth: Born On The River

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: Hurrican Ruth Publishing
Released: 2014.04.27
Category: Blues
Producer(s): Andon T. Davis
Media type: CD
Web address: www.hurricaneruth.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2014
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Born On The River (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 7:02
[2] Make Love To Me (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 5:56
[3] Slow Burn (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 5:45
[4] The Walls (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 6:10
[5] Dance, Dance, Norma Jean (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 5:02
[6] Money Train (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 5:20
[7] Cold Day In Hell (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 4:17
[8] Big Helen (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 5:00
[9] Work It (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 3:38
[10] Whiskey Chute (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 4:34
[11] Real Good Woman (LaMaster/Davis/Engel/Lumsden) - 4:45

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Hurrican Ruth LeMaster - Vocals
David Lumsden - Lead Guitar
Gary Davis - Bass Guitar
Jim Engel - Drums

Andon T. Davis - Producer
Noam Wallenberg - Engineer, Mixing
Michael Krayniak - Engineer
Andy Shoemaker - Mixing
Blaise Barton - Mastering
Julie Huffman - Art Direction, Artist Graphic
Heather Huffman - Social Media Management
Vicki Adkins - Photography
Christy Bley - Photography

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

Recorded and mixed at Rax Tax (Our thanks to Rick Barnes); mastered at Joyride Studio.

From Beardstown, Illinois, Hurricane Ruth offers us a generously filled album of original blues rock material.  The band consists of Hurricane Ruth LaMaster on vocals, David Lumsden on guitar, Gary Davis on bass and Jim Engel on drums.  Ruth wrote all the lyrics and all four members of the band are credited with the music.  The CD also comes with a very nicely produced booklet with the lyrics and some vintage photos to accompany the songs, some of which appear to have been provided by family members.

Some of the songs appear to be autobiographical and we certainly know where Ruth is from as she sings the title “Born On The River” many times over in the extended opener, David’s heavy guitar riff chugging along with a menacing tone. Most of the songs here are fairly lengthy and we get plenty of opportunity to hear David’s muscular guitar riffs which are a central part of the band’s sound alongside Ruth’s strong vocals.  The following tracks are this reviewer’s pick of the bunch here:

Track 2 – “Make Love To Me”.  Ruth makes an offer that sounds hard to refuse on this mid-paced rocker with lashings of guitar throughout.  Lyrically it appears that Ruth has set aside her ‘good girl’ days and is overcome with desire for her new man: “before I set you free, make love to me”.

Track 8 – “Big Helen”.  A local ‘madame’ whose late-night provision of drinks and girls was ignored by the cops makes for an interesting story set to a brooding blues tune.

Track 9 – “Work It”.  The shortest cut on the album works very well, a song of determination sung with gusto by Ruth over a riff out of The Stones’ handbook.

Track 10 – “Whiskey Chute”.  A catchy rocker celebrates Friday night in the local hostelry over a Southern Rock riff.

This is a solid set of upbeat rocking blues which probably reflects the band’s live shows pretty well.

John Mitchell - November 19, 2014
Blues Blast Magazine

I just received the newest release, Born On The River, from Hurricane Ruth. A powerful vocalist, Ruth is backed but David Lumsden on guitar, Gary Davis on bass and Jim Engel on drums. Opening with title track, Born On The River, Lumsden creates a wah wah effect with guitar and Ruth sings with a lot of sting. Make Love To Me opens with a modified Elmore James by Lumsden and with Davis create a heavy bottom for Ruth's vocals. Lumsden throws out some fine guitar riffs and Engel holds tight on the bottom. A simple 12 bar this track hits it hard. Blues Rocker Slow Burn has a trace of Voodoo Chile making it instantly cool with a nice bass riff but with an almost metal grind. Lumsden does take a nice guitar ride on this track bringing it to the blues via rock styling. One of my favorite tracks on the release. Blues ballad The Walls is an interesting track with light traces of Robin Trower with sonic guitar work. Ruth's vocals have a different sensitivity making this the overall best track on the release. Cool guitar soloing by Lumsden is pure icing on this track. Boogie track, Dance, Dance, Norma Jean has so much Rattle and Roll in it you'd swear it was cut in a shack in a small Texas town. Do you know what I'm talkin' bout? Money Train has a stiff strut with stiff reinforcement from Engel. I really like Lumsden's aggressive guitar attack on this track in particular. Slim Harpo influenced track Cold Day In Hell crafts a cool track on a James Brown beat. A smooth laid back guitar solo by Lumsden shows his versatility and Ruth shines as bright on this track as any. Big Helen has a real funky beat but believe it or not it reminds me of a Frank Zappa track. With it's visual imagery it's a pretty cool track. Again Lumsden steps up with a nice guitar solo making for a completely entertaining track. Work It opens with a straight up guitar riff but I really like the tone (just saying). A straight forward rocker, Ruth is riding the wave like Jim Dandy. With a lot of kick this track has a lot of southern spunk. Whiskey Chute, another rocker has a distinctive Boxcar Willie feel with a solid Rock and roll feel. Wrapping the release is Real Good Woman, a solid blues rocker. With swagger and saturated guitar leads, this track sews it all together.


Hurricane Ruth’s sophomore album, “Born On The River,” is an eclectic group of 11 original songs, the title track of which together with several other songs were inspired by lead vocalist Ruth LaMaster’s hometown of Beardstown, Illinois, a small town on the Illinois River.Joining Ruth on the album and on stage are the powerhouse trio of David Lumsden (lead guitar), Gary Davis (bass guitar) and Jim Engel (drums). The producer on the recording is Andon T. Davis, an accomplished, producer, guitarist, & vocalist and a very dear friend of the band. Andon’s direction enabled the quartet to deliver an intense and heavy album that has the same high energy as a live Hurricane Ruth performance. Recording in the comfortable environment of Rax Trax, Rick Barnes and his staff brought out the very best in the band, while Blaise Barton at JoyRide Studios put the finishing touches on a fine production.Hurricane Ruth originates from central/southern Illinois, packing venues throughout the region. Critics and fans hail their shows as powerful, raw, emotional and dynamic. The band’s contagious energy is evident in their live shows. The center of this energy is Hurricane Ruth herself. Ruth is a captivating performer, who will grab your attention from note one and never let you go. Willie Dixon once told Ruth “You’re the only hurricane I can appreciate.”

Hurricane Ruth LaMaster started performing professionally in 1979, and found instant success. She acquired the name Hurricane Ruth because no one believed that such a large sound could come out of such a small woman. Ruth has performed with Maynard Ferguson and his orchestra, Adrian Belew, and Louis Belson. She has opened for John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, Taj Mahal, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Sam & Dave, Fenton Robinson, and most recently Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Wayne Baker Brooks, and Ronnie Baker Brooks. Just as comfortable in the rock world, Ruth has also opened for renowned rockers: Heart, Judas Priest, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Steppenwolf, Eddie Money, Head East, Survivor, and The Romantics.

Hurricane Ruth has performed at many festivals: Champaign Blues, Brews & BBQs (Champaign, IL); Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues (Bloomington, IL); Rollin’ on the River Blues Festival (Keokuk, IA); Old Capitol Blues & BBQ (Springfield, IL); Illinois Blues Festival (Peoria, IL); Round Barn Blues (Kirksville, MO); Hot August Blues Festival (Hardin, KY); Merchant Street Music Festival (Kankakee, IL); Taste of Downtown (Springfield, IL), to name just a few.

Hurricane Ruth participated in the 2012 International Blues Challenge and was also a King of Beale contestant; they later returned to Beale Street in 2012 to perform at the Hard Rock Café.

Their debut album “The Power of the Blues…Feels like a Hurricane,” released in February 2012, was nominated for the IBC Best Self-Produced CD early the following year. It finished in the top 10 of Germany’s Wasser-Prawda magazine’s “Reader’s Poll for Best Blues Rock CD” of 2012 and the recording placed 11th on WEFT’s (Champaign, IL) Top 50 Blues CDs for 2012 (ranked by number of spins).


While we are on the subject of the blues, it is not just the guys who are keeping the genre rolling. Ruth LeMaster was born and raised on a much smaller river then the mighty Mississippi; the Illinois River, but if she lived the blues there she found a way to deal with it. She shouts at it, snarls at it, rips it to shreds. Her fiery pipes nail you from the first notes of the title track as she keeps the pedal to floor from start to finish. Despite the pure power of her vocals, she adds a nice melodic edge to it, conveying her feelings with honesty. “The Walls” for example is a mellower ballad with her voice taking a bit of a nod to the direction of Janis, tearing into her own soul so she can drive the words into yours. “Dance, Dance, Norma Jean” then rips it up with a full-on barrelhouse rocker that weaves in pieces of ZZ Top’s “LaGrange” and pays tribute to several more blues luminaries. Backed by a seriously rocking power trio, this is blues and as loud, hot, sweaty, and ballsy as anything the guys are doing these days. If Ruth truly a “Hurricane”, trust me, she’s a Cat 5!

MW - Music Morsels Review

This is the second album from Ruth LaMaster and her band (their debut album, which was released in 2012, is entitled ‘The Power of The Blues…..Feels Like A Hurricane’) Ruth handles lead vocals while Dave Lumsden is on guitar, Gary Davies provides bass and Jim Engel is on drums, their sound is hot, heavy and very bluesy.

Her parents owned a tavern along the Illinois River in the town of Beardstown, throughout her life Ruth was surrounded by the uplifting sound of music and the clinking of glasses, both during the good and the bad times and also let’s not forget the lively crowds. Ruth happily absorbed all these influences that prepared her for her future life in music on and off the road. After leaving home to finish her education at Springfield College, Illinois, she was accompanied by her childhood friend Christy Bly, she continued to pursue her musical interests while at college by entering into the company of like minded people such as; Bill Jansen, Doug Rapier and John Sluzalis.

After a while Ruth began to perform in public with Dick Garretson, who also passed on to her invaluable information regarding how to confidently perform onstage and how to interpret the moods of and audience. When asked how she gained such an interesting name she explained that a friend commented to her that it was very surprising to hear that such an enormous sound could emanate from such a small lady, this opinion was later validated by one Willie Dixon when he told her that “You’re the only hurricane I can appreciate”.

Ruth turned fully professional in 1979e and over the years she has worked with Maynard Ferguson and his orchestra, Adrian Belew, and Louis Belson. Ruth has also opened for John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, Taj Mahal, The Ramsey Lewis Trio, Sam & Dave, Fenton Robinson, and most surprisingly she has also embraced the dark side as in Judas Priest and Joan Jet and The Blackhearts.

After years of nudging towards the big time Ruth took a rest and joined the management at U.P.S. but has now retired after twenty three years of paper shuffling and is now back on the scene stronger than ever!  As Ruth says herself, “I look at this as a second chance to do what I really love,” she says. “It’s truly a blessing to be singing again and working with such wonderful musicians. I just want to give back to the community all that I can.”

The eleven numbers are all band originals and they simply sear themselves into not only your brain but your sensitive eardrums as well; on the first number “Born on the River,” a tale of the highs, lows and enticing attractions of  a life lived by a great river, Ruth lets rip from the very beginning,  her raw and tender voice is very much, a volatile mixture of Janis Joplin and Maggie Bell, Ruth hollers the lyrics out, as the irresistible rip-roaring re-sawing guitar sprays out its fire while the almost military bass and drums engine room marshals the music on.

“Make Love to Me,” is a tale of the ending of an almost a rough and rough love affair, while their engines still burn the bodies twist and turn, as they do, the scarring left by Ruth’s vocals and Dave’s grinding guitar leave welts you can almost see. The demonic entwining guitar work is presented at a much, much slower pace on the aptly titled “Slowburn,” as Ruth belts out her passionate love of music and how it can also seductively set the mood, vocals and guitar are set at a very mellow and inviting edge, slow burning and bristling with enticement all the way through.

“Dance, Dance Norma Jean,” is not only a rocket fuelled barnstorming rockabilly blaster paying tribute to the fifties but, it is also a tribute to her parents and the life they enjoyed. The darkly, sweet bass rolling and guitar rumbling “Big Helen,” is a tribute to an almost treasured brothel madam and the fine ladies she employed, who was not only as sharp as a razor but, also knew exactly how to use one. “Real Good Woman,” is a rumbustious rocking description of an ideal woman that no man can argue with.
Highly Recommended!

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