Rusty Ends Blues Band serve up a varied dish

Rusty Ends Blues Band serve up a varied dish

Rusty Ends Blues Band serve up a varied dish on this self-titled and is a great listen for some modern nostalgia that cuts across the blues, jazz and rock and roll genres while maintaining integrity.

Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – a great listen for some modern nostalgia that cuts across the blues, jazz and rock and roll genres while maintaining integrity.

This is an interesting one: Rusty Ends is a Kentucky based blues (via soul, jazz, rockabilly and a bit of big band swing) guitarist who released the well-received Midnight Screams and The Last of the Boogiemen and I always love a quick blast of the instrumental Unholy Roller from the latter. What I didn’t know is that back in 1996 he had an album effectively lost by the collapse of his then record label. Now, Earwig Music Company, have uncovered it, dusted it off and released the self-titled Rusty Ends Blues Band album.

That is good news if you like his hybrid style of the blues and, importantly, if you like the sound of a band having fun and sharing it with you. His career goes back to the 90s and The Rusty Spoons Band as well as backing some music legends: Otis Rush and Koko Taylor for example. Plus he’s done lots of sessions, including bluesman Eddie Kirkland. However, in his solo and/or band guise, Rusty is sort of a link between the rock and blues of the ’50s and ’60s and today, and brings freshness and nostalgia with every one of the seventeen songs on my shiny disc….many are sub three minute but with the odd surprise lurking in the running order. Due to that generous number of songs, I’ll choose my personal highlights and leave the rest for you to discover.

This is no reflection on the vocal talents of Rusty or Robbie, but after a couple of runs through, the instrumental Sinner’s Strut is one I keep going back to: it has bounce and the sort of chord work and tone that was prevalent in the sixties and, with the clever picking and chords it is always a pleasure. Something Wrong Going On is pure blues with a nod to the past but with a glistening Hammond behind the classic guitar approach and neat solo, makes it a regular too. 

Don’t Call It Love is nearly twice the length of most of the tracks and, over smart, spoken lyrics, it has a sleazy Three Dog Night feel that works well. Broken Dreams For Sale has an uncredited quality female vocal over a harp led, jazzy and languid soundtrack…possibly for that impossibly attractive Jessica Rabbit! I’m Searching is another well-used r’n’ r trope that Rusty pulls together nicely: and more neat harp behind the vocals and then a stunning solo.

The One Wish is the closing (and over four minutes) song that is an ideal wrapper as Rusty takes the sixties ballad up to date while preserving the era’s authenticity.

This is a great listen: authentic and modern with all of the nuances of the 50s and 60s rock, jazz and blues worlds. I have already ‘fed them into’ numerous playlists to bring fun and nostalgia to life whenever they crop up.

Rusty Ends Blues Band serve up a varied dish

Track Listing
What Next?
Secrets in the Street
Blue Shadows
I Wanna Know
A Man Can’t Understand a Woman
Sinner’s Strut
High Powered Loving Man
Something Wrong Going On
Don’t Call It Love
Heart Stealer
Broken Dreams For Sale
Sloppy Joe Blues
I’m Searching
Whips and Chains
One Step Forward
High Beams
The One Wish

Rusty Ends vocals and guitar
Robbie Bartlett lead (3, 11) and background vocals (4, 16)
Dave Zirnheld bass and background vocals (4, 16)
Gene Wickliffe drums except, Danny Kelly drums (6, 9, 10, 15)
Rod Wurtele electric piano (4, 7, 13, 16) Hammond B-3 organ (2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17)
Jim Rosen harmonica (1, 4, 5, 11, 13)
Gary Hicks trumpet (7, 10, 14)
Kelly Bechtloff saxophone (7, 10, 14)
Barry Shaw percussion
All songs written by Rusty Ends

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(iTunes decided I needed to be reminded of the gorgeous blues of Ruthie Foster and Aim For the Heart from 2012…great voice; great slide; great song.)

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