FAME Review: Ray Wylie Hubbard - The Grifter's Hymnal
Ray Wylie Hubbard - The Grifter's Hymnal

The Grifter's Hymnal

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Available from Ray Wylie Hubbard's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Somehow Ray Wylie has managed to make his sound more primal than A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) and the overall feel even nastier, wilder and more primeval (with the emphasis on the evil) than anything he has done. At the same time he keeps his poetic observations sharp, balanced and to the point. Through it all his irreverent sense of humor does not let the absurdities of life escape his rapier wit. One thing you may count on with a Ray Wylie disc is that it will take you to some very unexpected places; which is difficult when you are waiting for the unexpected to pop up, for example, there is no bass on five of the cuts. His lyrics are poetic and delivered in his raspy, raw, gravelly, weather beaten voice that holds the experience of all of time.

The disc is full of his songs he either wrote or co-wrote with a variety of people. There is one he didn't write, Coochy Coochy, and it was written by Richard Starkey who also plays guitar, shakers, cymbal, hand claps and sings on the tune. He is joined on this album by Rick Richards who handles drums and percussion, Audley Freed, guitars and mandolin, Ian McLagen, piano, his son Lucas Hubbard on some tasty electric guitar, and the indispensable George Reiff, who contributes on a variety of instruments and co-produced the disc with Hubbard. His lyrics are cinematic in that they create visual pictures with the sound that come to vivid life in the listeners mind. It is at times funky and swampy and always raw literate and enlightening. This is disc that grabs you from the opening notes of Coricidin Bottle, ands hold you in rapt attention to the final notes of Ask God, the song that closes the disc, leaving you with more questions than answers. A disc that is never dull, at times funny, quirky and always interesting and thought provoking.

Track List:

  • Coricidin Bottle
  • South Of The River
  • Lazarus
  • New Year's Eve At The Gates Of Hell
  • Moss And Flowers
  • Red Badge Of Courage
  • Train Yard
  • Coochy Coochy
  • Mother Blues
  • Henhouse
  • Count My Blessings
  • Ask God

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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