After a stint in the late 70s and early 80s, the bluesy duo The Reds faded into obscurity only to revive their garage rock/blues-laden career in 2007. A follow-up album came in 2009 and saw keyboardist Bruce Cohen release a solo album. Not to be outdone, Shaffer has released his own solo LP, Necessary Illusion—a 10-track DIY, distortion dynamo featuring Shaffer’s trade reverb blues guitar and throwback vocal delivery.

Title track “Necessary Illusion” gives you a snapshot of the album ethos… dirty, drone blues combined with tons of guitar fuzz and 60s garage elements. The “tin can-ish” percussion keeps the simple backing beat and allows the guitar wails and Shaffer’s hard luck vocal delivery to stand at the foreground. “Burnin’ Hell” opens to stomping percussion and Shaffer’s wailing tremolo and slide work. The fuzz is tuned down on this track but is laden with string bending (if not “string busting”) fills and intermittent bent backing howls and moans. “Shakin’ Hips” simply put is the dirtiest of dirty blues. The guitar sounds soaked in lament and turmoil. The lyrical content reeks of defeat and their delivery is downtrodden. The true mood-changer of the album, this track almost hurts.

Forget everything you know about Jon Spencer and his Blues Explosion. This Rick Shaffer and his “Blues Annihilation” and he’s the real deal. A true product of the era, Shaffer combines 60s garage with the lowest of lowdown blues to achieve a sound that no one is pursuing. His guitar work is uncanny and sounds more like he’s conjuring demons from it, rather than playing it. So that being said, congratulations Rick, you just garnered the first 4.5 rating that this writer has ever given (EVER). Buy it, listen on repeat and love the raw dirt of the sound is the only advice I can give. Because that’s what I intend to do.

● By Chris West ● SKOPE MAGAZINE

Rating: 4.5 (OUT OF 5)


Tarock Music is very pleased to announce we have signed a licensing Agreement with GLOBAL RIDE PRODUCTIONS to use songs, written by Rick Shaffer and Bruce Cohen, in CYCLING FUSION videos.

Global Ride Productions is the world market leader in producing the highest quality virtual cycling DVD’s. Founded by entrepreneur and long time cyclist, Gene Nacey, the Global Ride name was chosen to reflect a mission born from the detachment between the indoor and outdoor worlds of cycling. Most outdoor cyclists see indoor cycling as a boring sub-par method of training, while indoor cyclists have no desire to brave the outdoor elements.

Via their partnership with Cycling Fusion, the Global Ride team have created a means for these two cycling groups to see the benefits of each by providing high-quality videos that combine filming international scenes, using honest cycling training methods, paired with multiple coaching tracks from international coaches and industry leaders. Then artfully adding layers of upbeat commercial music, topped off with bonus yoga, pilates or strength training sessions. The resulting videos place Cycling Fusion at the forefront of an innovative cycling movement.

Sign up for the CYCLING FUSION NEWSLETTER & BLOG, and don’t miss reading REVIEWS of their unique DVD’s, with the added benefit of being introduced to other interesting cycling sites.

Tarock Music looks forward to working with Nacey and his highly skilled Global Ride Productions team.