Brothers and sisters, greetings from south central Kentucky, and welcome to the world of Rufus Huff. For the next few minutes, relax your mind as we take you on a musical journey, perhaps to areas you haven't visited in awhile. And if it’s new territory, stick close, we don’t want to lose you. The terrain gets raw, loud and funky, hold on tight! If you're into 70's Southern Fried Rock N' Blues, Funk and Boogie played through a vintage Marshall stack on 10, welcome home musical sojourners!
First off, you may be asking, "Who's Rufus Huff?!" Rufus Huff, named after two obscure Bluesmen Whistlin’ Rufus and Luther Huff, is made up of bass guitarist Dean Smith, drummer Chris Hardesty (both formerly of the now defunct Supafuzz), Jarrod England on vocals, and yours truly, Greg Martin, on guitar. Perhaps you know me from my other group, The Kentucky HeadHunters.
Rufus Huff came together out of impromptu jam sessions back in 2005. Rufus Huff is as much about the environment we grew up around, as the musical influences that shaped us in our youth. Except for a few overdubs, the CD you hold in your hand, was recorded ‘live’ in the studio. Now, let’s proceed…..
Songs, stories & chicken grease….
Our musical journey starts out on I-65 with "13 Daze," a true story about a man jilted by his woman; unfortunately she didn't live to tell about. Our friend runs into the night on I-65, his voice still vibrates in the Mammoth Cave area of Kentucky. Inspired by Montrose and early ZZ Top, thanks Rev. Billy!
Up next is "High On Heaven Hill,” a song set in historic Bardstown, Ky. Partly inspired by a fire at the Heaven Hill Distillery in 1996, the historic Talbot Inn, with some other Kentucky history thrown into the mix. The Kentucky HeadHunters and I play the "Kentucky Bourbon Festival" each year in Bardstown, thus inspiring Jarrod to add the "Four Roses" line in the song. The “white noise” at the start and ending of the song is courtesy of Dean Smith. Co-producer David Barrick took a big chord Dean was playing on the bass and turned it around backwards. It certainly sounds like a distillery burning!
We next visit Southeastern Kentucky for "Run Rufus Run,” a song written by Kentucky Bluegrass Music artist Dale Ann Bradley, and Vicki Lyn Simmons. I first heard Dale Ann and her band perform this song on public television last year and was intrigued by the story. It happens to be a factual tale of Dale Ann's 12 year old cousin running moonshine through the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky. We had the riff and chord changes, just happened to fit perfect with Dale Ann & Vicki's words.
We switch gears on "El Lago" for some Chicken Grease; take things down to Texas way. One of the fellows in Rufus Huff, and I'm not naming names, met a Tex-Mex girl in Florida, outside a Taco Tico. I can attest that Taco Tico was mighty good eating back in the day, especially if you had late night cravings. Evidently it was an interesting road trip for all involved since he was 19, and she was 32. We get into more of a funk groove on this one and use 'the girls' on backing vocals. Hugely inspired musically by Band of Gypsies and Trapeze.
We journey back in Glasgow, KY for "Shirley's”, an ode to Jarrod's late uncle, Jerry England, better known in our area as Mo. Without getting into too much detail, Mo had an 'off and on' relationship with Shirley for many years. Evidently Mo's mother, in the words of Stevie Wonder, "boohooed" the relationship. Mo and Shirley would have their spats, but always ended up back together again. Mo owned a '54 Chevy, given to him by Shirley; it's mentioned in the first verse. Sadly, Mo was killed in a 1970 Green Chevelle on Kentucky Hwy. 90.
"Gotta Have Her Name" started out as all Rufus Huff songs do, from casual jam sessions. As the grooves, chord changes and choruses solidify, Jarrod lets the lyrics and stories materialize. This song's story is based in Texas, about a gentleman that used to drink at a certain Texas watering hole and watch the hookers and street walkers parade by. This fellow had a thing for one of these 'women of the night,' stalked her, went as far as to observe her afar with a Telescope. Our friend falls madly in love with the young lady, his mission in life was to just know her name. There's more to this story, you'll have to wait for the sequel.....
"Good Morning Little School Girl" is one of those songs we've heard for years. Written by John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Dean and I first heard this song by Ten Years After on the 1969 LP, "Ssssh." Our version happened totally by accident in the studio. We had finished another song, Dean then suggested we jam on "Good Morning Little School Girl,” David Barrick hit 'record,' the rest is history. What you hear on this CD is the first take, no overdubs, just the way it went down that day. Rock and Blues is all about spontaneity, this is the proof in the pudding.
"It's Alright" is a song about the perils, struggles, and pain of love. Couple that message with a heavy riff in A, and you have a hillbilly relationship in overload. As all Rufus Huff originals, it's a true story for later dissection. This song draws musical inspiration from Mothers Finest and Led Zeppelin, with some Psychedelia thrown in for good measure. When it hits 4:40, turn on your favorite strobe and black light for a Psychedelic experience.
We get back into the Chicken Bristle groove on "The Bottom," a funky tribute to Willie Smith and the infamous 'Bottom' in Bowling Green, KY. The Bottom is a now defunct Juke Joint that was frequented by some real life characters. The liquor, soul food, music, card games and good times flowed freely. This is also a tribute to Glenn Hughes and Trapeze, a band that played Bowling Green in the early 70's. Remember, chicken grease is good for your soul and makes them strings slide a lot easier. Cock that Wah-Wah just right, you be makin' it outa' site!!
"Hain't No Good Life" is a subtle play on words and a heavy riff in E, what else do you need? Another song about a real love relationship gone south, and dealing with the situation without a net. Musical influence comes from Montrose, one of our favorite bands. When neighbors and in-laws visit unannounced, play this song loud to insure early departure.
"I Ain't Superstitious", written by the late great Willie Dixon, is another one of those songs that happened 'live' in the studio, thanks to Dean's prodding. We'd never played the song before the session. Dean suggested it; we nailed a groove, and then David Barrick hit 'record'. We later went back and added some extra guitars to fatten things up. For you gear heads out there, the effect on the solos is an original Ampeg Scrambler, a rare effects pedal made famous by Jim McCarty of Cactus, and Ronnie Montrose. This track is like getting your teeth drilled out, but a whole lot more fun!
The musical adventures end with "Funky Junk," a raw and funky jam with plenty of distortion, and a re-visit to Chicken Bristle for some mighty fine groove.
January 3, 2009
Produced by David Barrick and Rufus Huff. Recorded, mixed and mastered by David Barrick @ Barrick Recording Studio. Photography by Barrett Griffin. Rufus Huff logo by Josh Hampton. Package design: Al Gold. Executive Producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.