Ray, Rick - Looking Into The Past

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:22:00

Imagine if it was the 80s still and Rush was to take on Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare For The Common Man" (I don't recall if they ever have, so maybe this isn't so much imagining). Imagine that no longer. Instead you can hear the Rush-like performance of Riot Act taking on Copeland's classic. It's not Rush, but this is what Rush would have probably sounded like playing that piece live, in a small club ? with bad acoustics. It grooves, it moves, and is pretty damn cool. Not a patch on the original or the ELP version, or the Tangerine Dream version ? who hasn't taken on this composition, I wonder? And even if you can tell me someone (or a lot of someones) who hasn't, dare I amend that with "yet"?

"Fanfare" opens this compilation/retrospective from Rick Ray with, well, fanfare. Spanning a period from 1979 or so through 1994, we get 13 (or so) tracks by Rick Ray and his various combinations of cohorts - Neurotic in the late 70s, The Rick Ray Band in the late 80s, and Riot Act in the early 90s. This includes no fewer than 30 different folks, some named below. The oddball track here is "A Thousand Days Of Yesterday" which is a very bouncy late 60s track (and from the credits, I think another cover tune).*

There's quite a bit to like on this disk as it's filled with strong material, some great stuff. There are comparisons to classic rock bands like, oh The Guess Who, Iron Butterfly, Bachman Turner Overdrive that could be made on occasion, along with Rush and guitar rock in general. This is a good overview, especially since there's such a wide variety of arrangements. Of course, production is still an issue, but as some of these tracks were recorded in odd places - "Fanfare" was recorded in Ray's basement and "The Assassin Knows" in drummer Kevin Green's apartment, for instance - we can't expect high end studio production.

Well, there is a bit of fooling around in the studio here as well on the unamed track 14, a bit of radio promo chatter on track 15, and some crowd applause for track 16, all of which lasts for just over two minutes.

Still, all in all, I quite like this one. Recommended.

*The credits name Dorman, Rhino, Caldwell, and Evans ? I think I can place Dorman and Rhino with Iron Butterfly, but not Caldwell and Evans. Besides that, the title has a familiar ring to it, though I can't find it mentioned on any Iron Butterfly album. [Dec 2005: okay, it's a Captain Beyond piece, from their self-titled album from 1972, a band that included Lee Dorman, Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, Bobby Caldwell, and Rod Evans].

Fanfare For The Common Man (8:07) / Where The WIld Things Are (4:41) / One More Time (6:19) / Goodbye To Mr. Jones (2:52) / A Thousand Days Of Yesterday (3:50) / Follow The Blind Man (4:11) / Hands Of Death (5:49) / There's A Riot Outside (4:38) / The Assassin Knows (4:21) / Rebecca (3:05) / Tell No Lies (5:04) / Life In The Electric Chair (4:34) / No Ones There (6:35) / Track 14 (1:12) / Track 15 (0:27) / Track 16 (0:37)

Rick Ray - guitar, guitar synth, vocals

Neurotic (those on this disk):

John Ray - bass, vocals (2)
Rick Schultz - clarinet (2, 3, 6-8)
Harvey Phillips - drums (2)
Dale Orlando - sax, vocals (4, 5)
Walt Stipkovich - bass, backing vocals (4, 5)
Nick Hadzima - guitar (4, 5)
Paul Geltch - drums (4, 5)

Rick Ray Band:

Gregg Davidson - drums, backing vocals (3, 6, 7, 8)
Brice Rhea - bass (7)

Riot Act:

Jack Ambrose - bass, vocals (1, 9-13)
Gregg Davidson - drums, backing vocals (1)
Fred Chesnes - guitar (1)
Kevin Green - drums (9, 11, 13)
John Cek - drums, vocals (10, 12)

Abnormal Road (1999)
Balance Of Power (1999)
The Great Antagonist (1999)
Clone Man (1999)
Atomic Soldiers (1999)
Neurotic Tendencies (1999)
You People (1999)
Looking Into the Past (1999)
The Key To The Bottomless Pit (1999)
Cast Into Our Dimension (2000)
Living In An Insane World (2000)
Mind Control, Inc. (2000)
Guitarsenal (2000)
Manipulated DNA (2001)
Insanity Flies (2001)
Existing Passages (2002)
The Guitarsonist (2002)
Rick Ray Band - Into The Hands Of Sinners (2003)
Rick Ray Band - Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity (2003)
Rick Ray Band - Night Of The Living Dedicated (2004)
Chainsaw Manicure (2005)
Rick Ray Band - Temporary World (2005)
Rick Ray Band - Nothing To Lose (2007)
Rick Ray Band - Violence Marred By Peace (2008)
Rick Ray Band - The Setlist (2009)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rickray.net
Hits: 1370
Language: english


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