Dave "Snaker" Ray got together with a number of his old musician friends for a night of folk and traditional blues in the cozy confines of The Turf Club. A good, enthusiastic crowd filled the club to be entertained by and show support for Dave. Despite health problems in the last year that have slowed him down, Dave looked and sounded strong playing six and 12-string acoustic and electric guitar. Starting out solo with some Delta Blues on "That's All Right" Dave showed the crowd his clear, clean picking and smooth, rich expressive voice. Dave does a great job blending his vocals with his guitar licks, tapping his foot to keep the beat. Dave can make his voice expressive with vibrato, plaintive, or strongly passionate. On the walking blues of "Two Trains Running" he played long, hypnotic, repeating licks on his guitar that he matched with his expressive voice.
Dave then switched to his 12-string acoustic, which he played masterfully. Whether playing rich, rhythmic licks punctuated by sharp, contrasting chords or playing haunting, lingering chords that seem to hang in the air like smoke, he wowed the crowd with the sound coming from his guitar. Dave played a good mix of Delta Blues and folk. "Mobile and KC Line" is a great folk blues song, an old song given new life by Dave's picking and superb high vocals. The slow, grinding Delta Blues of "Just Give Me Back My Baby" had Dave playing great held, expressive notes rich with melancholy that added to his plaintive vocals.
Dave was then joined by Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson, both on acoustic guitars. The three gave the crowd a rich, authentic sounding version of "Key to the Highway," the best I have heard since Robert Lockwood, Jr. All three played very smooth, fluid guitar as Dave sang in his warm, expressive voice. Other highlights of the three's set were the slow, traditional blues of "Lost My Mind in a Wild Romance" featuring Dave's slow, sharp picking. On "Body and Soul" Dave brought the song visually alive with his strong, rising vocals. You could see and feel the dirt and poverty of the Delta as the trio played. All three guitar pickers got a chance to solo and shine on the walking blues of "Just Your Fool." Dave is a tremendous singer, and his mournful vocals here perfectly captured the spirit of the song. After each number, the crowd erupted in warm, enthusiastic applause and genuine affection for Dave and his friends.
After a short break, old bandmate "Spider" John Koerner sat down with Dave. Both played 12-string guitars on the traditional folk song "That'll Never Happen No More." For just having two guitars, they achieved a rich, full sound that backed Dave's strong, ironic vocals on this humorous song about bad luck, bad women, and hardship. John took over lead vocals on "I Ain't Gonna Be Treated This Way" with Dave providing some great harmonizing. The pair finished off with the sweet sounds of the old folk song, "My Blue Heaven." Their two 12-string guitars and Dave's warm rich expressive vocals made this song a treat. To give Dave a break, John soloed on "Careless Love." John brought this country-tinged blues song alive with his 12-string, harp on a rack, and sharp, stinging vocals. John finished off singing accompanied only by the stomping of his foot on "Days of 49." Once again the crowd roared and clapped their approval.
Dave then brought up Curt Obeda on guitar and Dave Pellitier on bass. The trio started out with "Teeny Weenie Bit of Your Love," with Dave on vocals. A highlight of this set was "I Get High Blood Pressure" with Dave doing some nice picking on his electric guitar, Curt playing some great, fast guitar fills, and the combined playing and vocals by Dave painting a picture for the crowd. The trio wrapped up with "Big Boss Man," Dave playing some great stinging, slow and held notes. Dave's sharp, sure and precise playing added much to the song, which was sung by his friend Mary who had organized the show.
Dave finished his show by bringing up one last friend, Randall Webb on guitar. The pair gave the crowd a nice finish to the show with "Pick, Pour, Rob and Clean." All together it was a special, intimate evening of blues and folk with a great player and singer who has been performing in the Twin Cities for forty plus years. The reverent, enthusiastic crowd that turned out on a cold Sunday night gave testimony to the special place Dave Ray holds in the local music scene and in the hearts of local fans. Be sure to catch Dave around town the next chance you get.
Editors note: After a long illness, Dave passed away early Thanksgiving morning, Nov 28, 2002.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Rich Benson, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $50.
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ email@example.com with any questions.