Stuck on the Blues
This is my long overdue acoustic duo CD with Italian harmonica virtuoso Marco Pandolfi. I first met Marco while touring in Italy in 1993 with the late great Frank Frost. I saw Marco again in '95 while touring with my own band and yet again in '96 while on tour with Louisiana harp man, Lazy Lester. I went to see Marco on a night off and was astounded by his natural ability to play blues harp. After having lived in Europe for over two decades, I had never heard a European play the blues harmonica with such feeling and authority. I invited Marco to come down and sit in on the next gig with Lester. Marco tore it up; he was twenty-eight years old at the time. I told Marco that if he could get some acoustic duo gigs together I would love to come back to Italy and tour with him. We did our first duo tour together in 1997 and have been touring together, once or twice a year ever since. Now 2007, and ten years down the line, Marco is a seasoned musician and can hold his own with the best in the business. The songs: "I've Got My Fingers Crossed" is a song I first heard on a Fats Waller disc. I love the harp solo on this one and the way Marco slips into the bridge so effortlessly. "Phonograph Blues," the Robert Johnson classic, is played in the key of A with Marco playing some very tasteful straight harp. "Dollar For Dollar, Pound For Pound" is a tune I wrote in '94 and originally recorded on my Cataract Jump CD with Jimmy Carl Black for Fritz Records of Ludwigsburg, Germany in '96. "Share Your Love With Me" is an old Bobby Blue Bland song that has been recorded by many great artists. I hope you like our version. I've been doing the old Muddy Waters tune, "Honey Bee" for many years. This tune features the slide guitar and some sizzling Chicago style harp. "You Gonna Quit Me Baby" is an old, old song I first heard by Blind Blake. This song showcases Marco's ability to play old school 20's style harmonica. "Honey Babe" is a song I heard on a Blind John Davis record from 1948. I love Marco's jazzy approach to this tune. He nailed this one on the first take, and he had never played the song prior to this session! "One Dime Blues" is an old Blind Lemon Jefferson tune that features some snazzy guitar pickin' and some great percussive harp playing. "I Once Was A Gambler" is a Lightnin' Hopkins tune I learned from RL Burnside in the early '90's. I had the pleasure of touring with RL and his harp player, Jon Morris Nerenberg, in Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, and England in the early '90's. "Hook, Line & Sinker" is a mellow tune I wrote in 2006. This song is played in open G tuning. "Kid Man Blues" is a song that Carl Martin recorded back in the '30's. I had the pleasure of meeting Carl in the early '70's when my sister's Jug Band opened for the legendary string band, Martin, Bogan & Armstrong in Lewiston, New York. Carl was a multi-instrumentalist and one of my favorite pre-war blues musicians. The title track, "Stuck On The Blues" is an original I wrote in 2006. The song is played in a Piedmont guitar style with Marco again showing his great ability to play first position harmonica. "Make My Getaway" is a Big Bill Broonzy tune with lots of atmosphere. I've done this song on occasion since the '80's. "Walkin' On Thin Ice" is a song I wrote way back in '82. I recorded a version of this song on my first CD, Richard Ray Farrell-Live in Germany (Maule & Gosch Records 1992). Marco and I have always had great response to this song so we decided to put it on the disc. Thanks to all our fans in the USA, Italy and elsewhere for their appreciation and encouragement. Richard Ray Newtown, Pennsylvania September 2007.