The Grifter's Hymnal

The Grifter's Hymnal

by Ray Wylie Hubbard


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The Grifter's Hymnal

Few songwriters are as driven as Ray Wylie Hubbard; at 65, he's writing, recording, performing, producing, touring, and scoring movies, and doesn't give a damn if you don't get it. His D.I.Y. aesthetic would make a punk rocker proud: he owns his own label and publishing company. For the past decade, Hubbard's distilled his sound to its essences. The Grifter's Hymnal, co-produced by Hubbard and George Reiff, is an organic follow-up to 2010's A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C), but it's wilder, nastier. Hubbard's lyric trademarks are intact; he continues to poetically detail the intersecting worlds he lives in, cultural, spiritual, carnal, past and present -- his poignant observations are balanced by his wicked sense of humor. But it's the sound on Grifter's Hymnal that grabs the listener initially. It captures the raw experience of music-making in the moment. "Coricidin Bottle" threatens to derail from the jump, a burning electric solo by his son Lucas and careening kick drums and floor toms by Rick Richards push it into the red. Ian McLagan's piano fills out the punchy, electric guitar strut on "South of the River." "Lazarus" (one of five songs with no bass) is populated by ramped-up, nearly distorted acoustic slide, handclaps, drums, and bird feeder (!) by Richards. Hubbard's grizzled delivery keenly observes America's contradictions before razoring in on gratitude, stating with deadpan certainty: "At least we ain't Lazarus/who had to think twice about dyin'." The burning rocker "New Year's Eve at the Gates of Hell," is bitingly funny; yet it asks deep questions about the root nature of good and evil. Audley Freed's electric guitar duels with Hubbard's slide, Richards' kick drum, and Reiff's bass. Its grit hits with chaotic force. "Train Yard," written with Liz Foster of the Trishas, is a dirty-ass sexual love song. Ringo Starr's "Coochy Coochy" features the Beatle on backing vocals and percussion. Loose, swampy rock fuels "Mother Blues" (named for the legendary Dallas club); it's part autobiography, part cultural history, and part reverie; but it's all lyric gold. Hubbard makes it nearly cinematic without being wordy. "Ask God" evokes the spirit of Lonnie Johnson in its spooky, minor-key gospel blues. The Grifter's Hymnal is truly inspired. It's a swaggering, sexy, shake-your-ass, greasy, deep roots record. It pursues the same mercurial muse that bit everyone from Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Howlin' Wolf to the White Stripes, the Black Keys, and Black Angels, down alleys, in bars and bedrooms, across history, myth, and space. Hubbard and company have captured it alive and kicking here. Play it loud.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/27/2012
Label: Bordello Records
UPC: 0626570617792
catalogNumber: 12
Rank: 4039

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ray Wylie Hubbard   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Tambourine,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Guitar (Resonator)
Ringo Starr   Guitar,Cymbals,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Shaker
Ian McLagan   Piano
Audley Freed   Mandolin,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
George Reiff   Bass,Percussion,Piano,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Brad Rice   Bass,Electric Guitar
Rick Richards   Drums,Tambourine,Hand Clapping,Snare Drums,Shaker,Floor Tom
Billy Cassis   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Lucas Hubbard   Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Ray Wylie Hubbard   Composer,Producer
Matt King   Composer
George Reiff   Producer,Engineer
Bruce Sugar   Engineer
Steven Christensen   Engineer
Charlie Shafter   Composer
Liz Foster   Composer
Pat Manske   Engineer
Richard Starkey   Composer
Javi Garcia   Artwork,Graphic Design,Layout

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