THE RICK RAY BAND

"Acrylic Charlie" (Neurosis Records; 2020)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I have never met him but I consider Rick Ray a friend. I think his music is simply outstanding though I have never seen the band live. I have said this before: I look forward to a new Rick Ray Band release as though it is a gift from the musical gods (and/or who ever you look up to). When R. Scott Bolton told me I had a new Rick Ray release to review, my endorphin levels elevated, my pupils must have reacted, my blood pressure went up and I knew my old friend Rick Ray was back and ready to be engulf me once again.

That may sound a bit melodramatic ... and maybe it is ... but, as you can see from my previous reviews of The Rick Ray Band's music, they have been an important part of my musical life for almost two decades. Before I get to the review of "Acrylic Charlie," allow me to suggest you go check out this band's body of work online (at https://rickray.net/) and also go to YouTube and check out their live performances. It is well worth the effort. I first reviewed the band back in 2002 and you can see from this site that I have always loved liked this band. To say that is an understatement but you must understand how much we here at RoughEdge.com love good music and The Rick Ray Band epitomizes that.

I question why one band becomes superstars and others don’t. Why do some bands make it big and some, more deserving bands don’t? Well, that my friends is a question for the ages.

On "Acrylic Charlie," The Rick Ray Band once again demonstrates why they are simply a kick ass rock'n'roll band. The music is tight, to the point, and has enough attitude to light a large city. Starting with the bluesy "All Debts are Paid," through the heartfelt "Time Waits for You" with its rousing solos, to the comical closer, "All You Kids," the Rick Ray Band offers rock music that I believe the late Frank Zappa would approve of. (By the way, of the 11 tracks on this album, five run over seven minutes long each. The Rick Ray Band don't mess around).

What can I say about this band that I have not already said. They kick ass and should be as popular as any well-known band out there. That should be enough, if you ask me. But, alas, commercial success doesn't work like that. Regardless, Rick Ray and his band simply continue to kick fucking ass and, frankly, I can't wait to hear what they've got in store for the future.

Another thing about Mr. Rick Ray I should talk about is his outstanding artwork. That in itself is worth the buzz, not only is he a killer musical performer, he is also, in my opinion, a world class artist.

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Dark Halo Matter" (Neurosis Records; 2019)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I have been listening to The Rick Ray Band since 2002. Wow! Seventeen years have not diminished my love for this musical act. There was a time when I looked forward to new Rick Ray music like it was a Christmas present. Each and every year, for awhile, I got a new recording of The Rick Ray Band and I devoured it like a starving man chowing down a hamburger. I have never met Rick Ray, but I think I know him just a little bit through his music.

Now on to "Dark Halo Matter." This shit rocks solid! The one thing I have always really liked about The Rick Ray Band is that when you listened to it you got the entire package. Each song gives 100% and that goes for the entire album, too.

I find myself comparing Rick Ray to the late, great Frank Zappa. Don't get me wrong--there will always and forever be only one Frank Zappa--however, Frank opened up was the idea that you could and should do whatever the hell you want musically and if the critics did not like it, well, fuck them. It's the fans, the people that buy the albums and the singles and the concert ticks and the t-shirts. They're the people that really care.

"Dark Halo Matter" may not be hard rock or heavy metal but it is a thought-provoking, deeply intelligent, in-your-face, kick-your-ass rock'n' roll. If you want screaming and loud music, Rick Ray is not for you. If you want high quality rock'n'roll then this shit is right up your ally.

On a personal note, Mr. Rick Ray has helped me out personally when I was going through some hard times a few years back and his music really got me through it. I am not the only person who thinks The Rick Ray Band kicks ass. Just check out their website and you will see just how long the band has been around, how much they are revered and how to get their recordings. I hope you go to the site and I hope you contribute to the overall coolness that is The Rick Ray Band.

Bravo, Rick, you have kicked my ass once again!

This band is Rick Ray - vocals and keyboards; Rick "Sarge" Schultz - sax and bass clarinet; Dave “Shaggy” Snodgrass - bass and vocals; Kip Volans - drums and percussion.

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Killing Time" (Neurosis Records; 2017)

Reviewed by Snidermann

As I have said before, reviewing a Rick Ray Band release is like communicating with a long lost friend.  Every year or so, a new Rick Ray CD showed up here at Rough Edge headquarters, and we were eager to listen and review. Recently, the band's latest CD, "Killing Time," showed up in our mailbox and -- although it's been a few years since the band's last release, we were just as pleased to see this one. And "Killing Time" doesn't disappoint.

Let me back track just a bit: Check out the reviews below (and on Rick's other page) and you'll get a glimmer of just how much music actually comes out of this extremely talented musician and his band.  Each recording is nothing short of excellent rock'n'roll music from start to finish.  It's all guitar with a horn section and keyboards -- all an intergral part of the Rick Ray Band sound. Although they are not a jam band, the Rick Ray Band reminds me of that Les Claypool/Primus/Frank Zappa sound, and that is always a good thing.

Like their previous recordings, "Killing Time" is rock music that transports you like a trance into another place and time. The music is familiar, yet unique; hard, but not heavy; brilliant but not arrogant. It's the purest form of rock'n'roll and comes directly from the band's heart.

I'm not surprised that "Killing Time" holds up so well to the previous Rick Ray and Rick Ray Band releases but it does make me a little sad. Because, now that I've got this one in my hands, I know it's going to be at least another year until we get our next dose of these amazing artists.

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Can't Lie Hard Enough" (Neurosis Records; 2011)

Reviewed by Snidermann

It feels like I have been listening to The Rick Ray Band my entire life. That is far from the truth, of course. I first reviewed the band in 1992 and we here at RoughEdge.com have listening to their music since then.

The music of the Rick Ray Band is good ... wait, not good ... but great. Great to the point that I am shocked they never really made it big. I guess that's not my call but what I can say is that The Rick Ray band has been part of my life for close to twenty years and I am damn glad they have been.

I know I've told this story before (probably right here on this page) but I am always looking for the next new Rick Ray Band album to come around. That being said, I realized there is music by the band that we have not reviewed here. I find that a travesty against all we here at Rough Edge stand for!

I shall rectify that. And with a vengeance.

"Cant Lie Hard Enough" was originally released in 2011 and, frankly, it could have been released yesterday. The music is that timeless. One of the things I love about this band is that do what they do best. They play the rock'n'roll they want to play and they have done that forever. "Can't Lie Hard Enough" is yet another outstanding collection of tracks that will simply put a foot in your ass. There isn't a track here that doesn't belong and each and every one of them draws you right in and you're damn glad to be there.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ray's artwork: It is simply outstanding. It's a different style of drawing but it reminds me of the Gary Larson classic "The Far Side" in its cleverness. Take a peek at his album covers, or follow him on Facebook, to discover more of his impressive, amusing and thought-provoking art.

"Can’t Lie Hard Enough" is just another piece of the musical puzzle that is the Rick Ray Band. I recently received a text from Rick telling me that he was working on a new album to be released soon. I can't wait. I love an artist who keeps plugging away, recording and releasing new music that maintains its level of greatness. I enjoy the Rick Ray Band's music so much, I almost consider them my own personal rock stars! 

I wish Rick and the band were rich as fuck. They certainly deserve it. But I will take their music and continue to champion it anyway I can. Keep plugging away, Rick Ray and the band, SniderMann here at RoughEdge.com will keep telling the world about your music!

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Set List" (Neurosis Records; 2009)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Once again The Rick Ray Band has graced the pages of Rough Edge and once again he has delivered a high-energy rock release. According to the band's website (at http://www.rickray.net) "Set List" was recorded live in a five hour jam session and is exactly what you would get in a live Rick Ray Band live show (and that is something we here at Rough Edge would really like to see!)

Another thing at their web site is the list of recordings available from the band and that is eye opener for the sheer volume of quality recordings from The Rick Ray Band.

"Set List" is an outstanding example of just what this band can do. They rock right from the first song and not only with guitars and bass, but also with saxophones, harmonicas and an oboe(!). The band makes all those instruments sound great playing rock'n'roll.

Thank you Rick Ray Band for another terrific release! As always, I look forward to the next one!

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Nothing to Lose" (Neurosis Records; 2007)

Reviewed by Snidermann

The Rick Ray Band has consistently given us great new material virtually each and every year and 2007 is no exception. 

"Nothing To Lose" is typical Rick Ray -- quality music and outstanding production. Listening to Ray go to work is like visiting an old friend -- you really don't know what you are going to get but you do know you are going to be entertained.  

A high level of musical quality is what each and every Ray Band release has is common and they continue to deliver with "Nothing to Lose." Actually, I think they keep getting better and, in that case, this band can go nowhere but up.  

Through the wonders of the Internet, I have found a kindred sprit with Rick Ray even though I have never met him personally. Keep up the good work, Rick and band, and keep the music coming.  

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Temporary World" (Neurosis Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Snidermann

So here we are again and, as the hands of time propel us into the future, there is one thing I know will happen: Rick Ray and his band will record and release yet another killer rock album. 

So as I delve into "Temporary World," I am not disappointed. Ray releases at least one CD each year -- and not just a one or two track demo -- we're talking twelve full-length tunes here -- and they almost always kick ass. 

"Temporary World" is no exception. This release has it all: killer hard rock guitar, kick ass musicians throughout and a writing team that keeps it all coming hard and heavy. But this isn't just headbanging here. Sometimes you can hear a clarinet in the background or other instruments buried in the mix. The deceptive simplicity of it all just goes to prove that Rick Ray is a master musician and producer. 

Now to the strange part: this guy is not on a major label. What's up with that?

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Night of the Living Dedicated" (Neurosis Records; 2004)

Reviewed by Snidermann

A new CD by the Rick Ray band is like hearing from an old friend. As long as I have been writing reviews for RoughEdge.com, I've known that it won't be long until a new Rick Ray CD makes it to my inbox and I look forward to it.

"Night of the Living Dedicated" is the latest offering from the Rick Ray Band and, like the band's previous CDs, "Night" blends expert songwriting, top notch guitar work, a grooving saxophone and the same killer attitude. I don't know if I can call what Rick and his band do hard rock, but they entertain the hell out of me with each and every release. Ray's material is closer to Tom Petty than Tom Araya but it works for me. 

The quality of music that this man and his team consistently deliver is amazing and "Night Of The Living Dedicated" is no exception. How this band puts out so much music and maintains their quality, I'll never know. "Night" is great rock'n'roll. 

I can't wait for the next one!

The Rick Ray Band: The band is Rick Schultz reeds, Gary Wood bass and vocals, Sam P.J. Glorioso drums Phil Noch vocals and Rick Ray guitar, keys and vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Out of the Mist of Obscurity" (Neurosis Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Guitarist Rick Ray doesn’t need an introduction to Rough Edge readers -- several of his numerous albums are reviewed here on our pages. In fact, Rick Ray as a solo artist has released well over 20 albums, but The Rick Ray Band has just released its second album "Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity."

"Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity" shows Rick Ray exploring more of a classic rock song structure with only brief forays into Ray's more eclectic interests. It's easy for me to compare some of the songs on "Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity" as fitting in well with the Rolling Stones, Electric Light Orchestra, or even Dire Straits. Did you just notice that the three bands I mentioned are English? Well, I just noticed it and there might be a reason behind that. The Rick Ray Band have taken rock'n'roll and twisted it enough to avoid direct comparison to their American counterparts and something more in line with English bands' fascination with the American art form of rock.

Vocalist Phil Noch and multi-instrumentalist Rick Schultz are prominently featured and the band is the better for it. The band shines on "Demons And Men" when this mini-epic takes on a dramatic flair not previously heard in Rick Ray's projects. The band's namesake, Rick Ray himself, takes the spotlight on the aggressive "Death Of The Swineherd" when the disc takes a slight detour to display Ray's technical prowess with the guitar.

As I've noted in my reviews of Rick Ray's solo work there isn't much in the way of metal or hard rock that would interest most Rough Edge readers. However, The Rick Ray Band shows Ray exploiting his talents in a different format where the band's contributors on keyboards, saxophone, clarinet, and vocals take the spotlight as often as Ray does.

"Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity" was produced by Rick Ray. While this disc doesn't sound too different from Ray's solo efforts, I like the sound of "Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity" because it definitely has a crisper production to it.

The Rick Ray Band: Phil Noch on vocals; Rick Ray on vocals,  guitars, and keyboards; Gary Wood on bass; Rick Schultz on clarinet, bass clarinet, and saxophone; Sam “PJ” Glorioso on drums.

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

"Into the Hands of Sinners" (Neurosis Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Rick Ray's latest release is a band effort and yet another interesting look at a talented and slightly mysterious performer. Ray's music is very hard to define. It blends rock, blues, jazz and a few styles I can't even put my finger on. But one thing is for certain: This dude knows how to play a guitar. 

"Into the Hands of Sinners" is much like earlier Rick Ray recordings while being completely different. The songs are obviously individual but seem to belong together like chapters in a book. As with previous Ray releases, there is an air of mystery to Ray's sound, lyrics and style -- and that may very well be part of what makes his music so appealing. Plus, Rick Ray obviously wants to make the music he wants to play and he makes lots of it. I say good for him.

The talented musicians performing on "Into the Hands of Sinners" are: Rick Ray - guitars, keys and vocals; Rick Schultz - reeds; Gary Wood - bass; Phil Noch - vocals; John Cek - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.rickray.net

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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