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The Rick Ray Band

Acrylic Charlie

Review by Gary Hill

I have reviewed quite a bit of music from this band. Their sound, with its almost raw garage-band edge applied to jazzy progressive rock concepts is unique and entertaining. This might be their most effective set to date. I love how they can take a musical concept that is basic, like a blues rock jam and turn it into pure progressive rock. I don't know that there are a lot of other artists who do that, and certainly not in the same way. If you want a unique and very cool prog rock experience, this might be a great choice.

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Track by Track Review
All Debts Are Paid
They bring this into being with a hard-rocking, driving guitar based arrangement. There is a blues rock feeling to this screaming hot number. Yet it has some purely prog breaks in the mix, too. There are some killer shifts and changes that really elevate this to the prog end of the spectrum.
Headed to Nowhere
A fast paced jazz rock jam opens this with an almost King Crimson vibe. The cut drives out there into a killer hard-edged jam that really merges that sound with something a bit rawer and more basic. They take us on some killer excursions along the road with jazz, psychedelia and more melded into the structure of the tune. There is some killer almost metal jamming later in the number. This thing is really quite a cool ride. As strong as the opener was, this is a step up.
Acrylic Charlie
Another driving hard-edged sound starts this thing, but yet they still twist and turn with killer prog changes. There is a screaming hot jazz rock movement that gives way to a movement that feels so much like Hawkwind to me. The guitar solo further down the road is so tasty. This is another screaming hot prog tune masquerading as a straight hard rock tune. That extended guitar solo section takes the track to the end.
Lunacy Set Free
A more melodic prog rocker, this has plenty of jazz in the mix. This is more of a mainstream prog cut, but it also has quite a bit of fusion in the mix. I really dig the driving jam that takes it mid-track. The guitar soloing is purely on fire. That movement takes the piece to its closing.
A Place Called Everywhere
A mellower, more melodic mainstream rock movement opens this cut, and the track builds outward from there. The cut builds out into another killer jam that combines jazz rock, space rock and more to create a cool musical journey. It really gets into some of the most effective instrumental passages of the whole disc.
Time Waits for You
At over eleven minutes of music, this is the epic of the album. The cut starts in more mainstream prog zones, but that's just a point of origin. This is arguably the most dynamic piece here. It works through so many different movements and themes. It's another killer prog excursion. I particularly like the jam that feels like early King Crimson doing a theme song from an old detective or spy show. This is not only the longest track of the disc, it is probably my favorite, too.
Nervous Dot Calm
Screaming hot prog jamming with some smoking hot keyboard work over the top is on hand here. As you might imagine, though, this doesn't stay in one place very long, really driving outward and twisting and turning as it continues. I love the soaring kind of keyboard heavy movement that comes in later in particular.
Flight 714
There is a twisted and heavy blues rock concept at the heart of this as it starts out. The cut works out into some pretty crazed and cool prog jamming as it continues. This tune works into more of a jazz rock motif as it works outward from there, but it eventually drops back to a standard blues grind. There is airplane sound with a pilot talking at the end of the track.
Los Bongoles
Twisting this way and that, a hard-edged garage band sound merges with prog and jazz musical structures on this killer tune. It's a great instrumental.
Doomtown Mannequins
Another fast paced and twisting turn prog stomper, this is another killer tune. I love the cool melodic movement around the four-and-a-half minute mark. Then again, the whole tune is great. That just stands out for me.
All of You Kids
I love the nearly spoken vocal that spoofs the stereotypical old person dealing with young people. The music here has a great jazz meets rock vibe. There is some killer guitar soloing, too. At under two-minutes long, this odd number is the shortest one on the disc.
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