There are some folks who claim that straight-up no-bullshit meat and potatoes old-time rock’n’roll racket is plumb dead. Well, both I, and more importantly, Rick Shaffer certainly know different. Shaffer’s smooth snarl hisses out the unpretentious lyrics with admirable just-say-it-man directness. Better still, the hard-as-granite drums, chugging bass lines, and rippin’ reverb-soaked guitars keep the snaky tempos and slithery beats a crawlin’ along with tremendous grit and gusto. It’s a little bit 50’s rockabilly, a dab of 60’s soul, with some lowdown blues tossed in for good measure and blended together with bang-on proficient musicianship. Think the bastard lovechild of Buddy Holly, Link Wray, and Mick Jagger, and you’ll get the picture on just how insanely boss this shit is. So, dig in, open wide, and eat it up, boppers, ‘cause good ol’ fashioned rock is here to stay, baby!
• Joe Wawrzyniak • THE WORLD ACCORDING TO WAWRZYNIAK
It’s been the kind of week when things kept popping up from the past. With that trend being set, it was little surprise to find that Rick Shaffer had a past as the guitarist with The Reds dating all the way back to the eighties. Further research also indicated that this is, in fact, his second solo album.
What therefore of the music? It’s a curious thing and that’s the truth. Not that it is oddball or just plain difficult, more that it seems like Mr. Shaffer has decided to take the one man band approach for, while there are additional musicians credited, he clearly prefers to be the ringmaster in his own circus. Though the sonic appeal of this approach does wane over the course of the album, it is nonetheless also true that his post punk American style songs seem suited to this direct, slap you in the face approach with “Nobody Home,” and “Crime Of Love” for that matter, getting near to the howling intensity of a real bluesman while “Crime Of Love” snarls up a refreshing amount of anger management issues.
It is refreshing to hear an album that hasn’t been polished to mediocrity like so many these days and, with that in mind, I am now overcome with the urge to draw a musical parallel and say that Rick Shaffer sounds like Seasick Steve would sound if he had been imprisoned in a big city basement with only a guitar and a case of Jack Daniels for company. Rough and ready – that’s the way to go!
Bluesbunny • Independent music reviews from Glasgow, UK
“Buy And Sell” is the second track on Rick Shaffer’s solo album, Hidden Charms, released February 2011, by Tarock Music. Shaffer continues, expands, and nicely follows-up the feel of his first solo album, Necessary Illusion, released March of 2010. The concept is for Hidden Charms to have a sound both new and old simultaneously, allowing it to find it’s place in a radio mix from1965, and beyond.
The album’s vibe inspired British director, Peter McAdam, to recruit 2011 youth right off the street, and placing them on the set of a 1960’s dance hall he created at High Bridge Studios, Newcastle UK, and letting “Buy and Sell” play . . . LOUD. The result is a video that also combines new and old, continuing the Hidden Charms concept by having today’s youth easily blend into the 1960’s and not looking, or feeling, out of place.