Blues Underground Network
Ruff Kutt Blues Band "Mill Block Blues"
Giving Hart to Heart a whole new meaning is what the Ruff Kutt Blues Band's release of "Mill Block Blues" is all about, as a Who's Who of some of the best blues musicians around get together and play their Heart out for the HART Fund, "a service provided by the Blues Foundation which provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral expenses for blues musicians."
The idea behind Ruff Kutt Blues and the making of "Mill Block Blues" belongs to James Goode (Bass) and as such he also wrote all the songs on the album, except for one which he co-wrote with Michael Schaefer, whom also does Vocals on a few of the songs. One of the more notable artists on "Mill Block Blues" is Anson Funderburgh, a Texas Blues Guitar Legend with an amazing 9 Handy Awards, already under his belt. Beyond laying down some mean Guitar licks on this album, Anson helped Arrange, as well as Produced "Mill Block Blues". Of the 13 Tracks on "Mill Block Blues", Anson was featured on 10 of them. The other great musicians and artists on this album included Gentleman John Street (Keys), Forresr Wesley Starr (Drums), Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones (Vocals), Dempsey Chrenshaw (Vocals/Harmonica), Christian Dozzler (Accordion), Hash Brown (Harmonica), Ron Jones (Sax), Don Cates (Rhythm Guitar), Steven Richardson (Drums/Vocals), Shurhonda Kemp (Vocals), and Kenny Daniel (Vocals). All of the artists on "Mill Block Blues" have amazing bio's which one easily finds written in the cover booklet.
"Mill Block Blues" is essentially a tribute album to those whom "lived on the Cotton Mill block" in the small town of McKinney in North Texas, through the 50's and 60's. James Goode stresses the fact that that area was not a ghetto, but in fact was a "large housing area of really good people that worked hard for their money." "Mill Block Blues" offers us 13 Tracks which deal with the tough times and sometimes really tough times a lot of those workers had to endure, and essentially offers us all a rare glimpse into an important part of American history.
"Mill Block Blues" was really a group effort with in addition to Anson Funderburgh being featured, many others, as well, got their chance to step up and show off their unique talents, with the example of Vocals alone being shared on this album between 6 artists. It is also not long into listening to this masterpiece that one quickly realizes why many of the artists on this album are referred to as legends, present and future.
One of my favorite songs on "Mill Block Blues", was Track 3 "Drown On Dry Land" which featured Anson Funderburgh & Michael Schaefer. The song even became more of a favorite of mine once I found out about and watched the newly created video to the song on YouTube, which can be viewed here, http://youtu.be/rZqE0EIa2M8 .
To me "Mill Block Blues" came across as a extremely fine production, one in which was a more than fitting tribute to those that sacrificed, in some cases, much more then they should have to make a living.
"Mill Block Blues" is a superb Blues album, for an equally superb cause and gets my very highest rating of 5*****. Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed.
For those of you whom wish to know more about the HART Fund, please visit blues.org at the following link, http://www.blues.org/about/news.php?Id=1053#ref=hart_index
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
1. Cut Like A Knife (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Dempsey Crenshaw) 3:50
2. Living Without You (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Steve "Big Bo" Richardson) 4:31
3. Drown On Dry Land (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Michael Schaefer) 3:25
4. Now You See Me (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones) 5:40
5. Stone Cold Woman (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Dempsey Crenshaw) 5:00
6. This Is the Place (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Dempsey Crenshaw) 3:40
7. The Fowler Street Stumble (feat. Anson Funderburgh, John Street & Ron Jones) 4:50
8. She's Gone (feat. Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones) 3:58
9. Mill Block Blues (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Michael Schaefer) 3:39
10. Rock When You Need To (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Kenny Daniel) 3:41
11. Oh Lord (feat. Anson Funderburgh & ShuRhonda Kemp) 3:27
12. Daddy Sang the Blues (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Dempsey Crenshaw) 7:19
13. I'm On My Own (feat. Anson Funderburgh & Michael Schaefer) 3:04
Listen To Samples Here...