Ryan & The Del-Rays
1949 Chevrolet Blues
Snappy Records (2002) No Number
11 tracks, 36 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: May/June 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
The number of hopeful guitar slingers that have thrust themselves upon the blues world because of the
influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan has been enormous, if not substantially more, but those that actually
have something to offer aside from a pocketful of licks can generally be counted on one hand. Ryan
Verthein, the frontman and guitarist for Ryan & The Del-Rays may be one of the hopefuls,
but there's little more than that from this Bovey, MN resident. Of the eleven tracks on his first CD,
better than half come from Vaughan's repertoire, including Love Struck Baby, Pride And Joy,
and The House Is Rockin' as well as Guitar Slim's Guitar Hurricane, and Buddy Guy's
Mary Had A Little Lamb, plus Lonnie Mack's Oreo Cookie Blues. Lots of the hopefuls
actually have Vaughan's tone and licks cold, but a lot of that comes from having done the homework to
learn Albert King, Guitar Slim, Buddy Guy, and others as well as Vaughan's style. Unfortunately,
Verthein's guitar is pale and disturbing at best showing none of the force, fire, or crushing tone
exemplified by the masters. His vocals are simply disturbing, out of key, and flat. The living room
recording quality does nothing to help push this above the level of pure mediocrity. Joe Hill Louis'
Tiger Man even falls prey to Ryan's Vaughan-a-be style with SRV-cum-Buddy Guy rhythm and
no originality. The disc's saddest moments come at the end with Robert Johnson's Malted
Milk, the original title track, and Oreo Cookie Blues, all displaying the same poor timing,
identical flogging rhythm, and grating vocals. Points can usually be awarded to players for the courage
to stand up and be counted among legions of followers, but this youngster needs to send himself back
to the woodshed, preferably not with a guitar.
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