Page 6 of the Redditch Standard. Click to enlarge.
Had the honour to open the John Bonham Festival in Redditch at the weekend.
RDP give it his all!
From the opening filmic feel of ‘Blues At Sunrise’ to the conceptually opposite of ‘Blues At ‘Twilight’ – two ambient blues instrumentals that top and tail Ritchie Dave Porter’s ‘End Of The Line’ – this is an album that takes us on an evocative musical journey played mainly on acoustic guitar, with one electric track.
‘Blues At Sunrise’ sets the scene for an impressionistic ride, while the closing ‘Blues At Twilight’ could almost be Roy Harper.
‘End Of The Line’ is a rootsy blues album, but Birmingham’s RDP is equally strong as a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist. What glues his versatility together is the emotional weight of his songs and more importantly the way he delivers them.
The former power trio guitarist mainly lets his acoustic guitar do most of his talking and when called on to sing, he frequently double tracks his voice to make a significant impact.
He knows the value of dynamics and the use of space and time, on an album that’s big on making his notes count rather than the amount he actually plays.
His music is a balance between the two voices of his guitar and vocal. He frequently lets a song drop down to accommodate his vocal rather than just his guitar. Sometimes they intertwine, but he often interweaves two separate but interrelated threads that usually find their way back to the same destination by the end of the song
Together with former producer Michael Tingle who contributes drums on ‘Happy Home’ – the only electric track on the album – the duo explore a sparse and rough-edged feel on a track that sounds like a one-take garage band cut.
Porter’s piercing vibrato, and live-in-the-studio feel is further amplified by a perfunctory ending with a spoof on Lennon’s famous rooftop comment from ‘Let It Be’: “I’d like to thank the group and hope we passed the audition.”
‘Dog Without A Bone’ is essentially a conceptual statement of the joy he gets from playing his preferred genre of the blues, as he adds some nifty picking to a song that ends all too quickly.
’12 Long Hours’ initially sounds mundane, but it’s a true story about clocking in the hours at his day job. When he adds a few choice guitar flurries you can’t but help be drawn in by his clock watching as he pines for his guitar.
The exclamatory titled ’Hell Yeah Man I Got The Blues’ is a new take on familiar subject matter, on a blues song about work and feeling down, which he neatly embroiders with some catchy acoustic riffs. He’s deep in depair when he sings: “Got no job, no dog, no lover”, but he settles on the sentiment that: “It’s the blues that keeps me strong.”
‘Let Me Tell You About The Blues’ is another song full of genuine emotion, lovely finger work and a warm vocal that emotes his inner feelings.
It’s on this track that RDP nails his oeuvre. He does so by letting his double tracked acoustic resonate, so that when his voice fills the space left by the guitar, it makes the kind of emotional impact that leaves the listener wanting more.
‘My Father’ further emphasizes the natural flow of the album, on a song about the loss of his dad. In sharp contrast, the almost gypsy jazz feel of ‘Baby Why You Treat Me So Bad’ makes good use of some old school repetition of the opening lines for maximum effect.
You can see why ‘End Of The Line’ made it as the title cut, as his voice, guitar and the arrangement are perfect. There’s real feel, deep emotion, great playing and that ever present dynamic. And when he shouts out; “let me play my guitar”, he restricts himself to the briefest solos before calling a halt to a mesmerizing track.
While there are plenty of technically excellent acoustic blues practitioners out there, RDP combines his own estimable chops with real feel and the ability to mirror a lyric with a single guitar line. He builds the track, delivers the line and let’s it hover, float and then gently descend, before resolving the song and moving on to a different but related piece of music.
In many ways ‘End Of The Line’ is a misleading title as it’s an album with a bigger picture that draws on the emotive base of acoustic blues to share everyday feelings.
RDP is contemporary blues artist with old school values that he channels into songs that resonate. Acoustic roots never sound so fresh and immediate. ****
Ritchie Dave Porter – ‘End of the Line’
Release date: 1st March 2018
I like Ritchie Dave Porter!
These days, many artists seem to strive for the next best thing, trying to stretch themselves too far, with ambitions beyond their current hemisphere. The problem is, that ambition might as well be in the next galaxy, because they just ain’t going to get there when they don’t have what it takes to get lift off.
This ‘working class bluesman’ is more honest with himself, and that’s what I like about his music – he sticks to what’s in his heart and in his bones. And why does he do this? Because he sings the blues and he’s pretty darn good at it!
I’ve never met Ritchie, but have got to know him a little through the powers of the internet, and the lyrics he writes seem to come directly from what’s happening in his life. When he sings “I can make it alone, because I sing the blues” on ‘Dog Without a Bone’ he also teaches us that he can do double meanings as well as anyone. The lyrics on this and a number of Ritchie’s songs leave listeners in no doubt that he has an eventful and never smooth love life, and here he tells it like it is – singing the blues gets him through.
So where’s the double meaning, you might ask. Well, I thought that the song might also relate to his musical ambitions. I’ve wondered why Ritchie’s doesn’t have a band, but he’s obviously convinced that he can make it on his own, and with talent like his, it’s hard to argue with him. But….
….and in the middle of this otherwise exclusively acoustic album, we get the one track where he plays electric guitar, something I for one would like to hear more of (the mirror image, with just one acoustic track, for the next album perhaps?). ‘Happy Home’ ends suddenly when someone pulls the plug and tells him he passed the audition to join their band. It’s a neat trick to get the hard-edged blues-rock track onto the album. It also suggests that maybe Ritchie craves to lead a band?
Then again, the very next number, ‘Let Me Tell You About The Blues’, demonstrates exactly why there’s no need for him to change. There’s some absolutely beautiful string work on this track. Many of Ritchie’s songs follow a traditional blues structure. However, he demonstrates his versatility and excellent musicianship in songs like this, which I’d pick out as my favourite track on the album. There’s a problem here though – it’s only three minutes long, and I could have listened to much more of that guitar playing.
The following track, ‘My Father’, is another individually styled and structured song, with some lovely riffs right though the number. The title track on the album, ‘End of the Line’ also has a few sumptuous solos. It starts with some beautiful simple, almost bass, notes that vaguely reminded me of an equally brilliant track called ‘Closer’ by Nikki Loy, on her album ‘Pivotal’. Ritchie sings “I was searching for love, but I need to find peace, I was looking for love, but love’s a broken dream…just let me play my guitar!” – and there you have it…he found his number one love, and he has it in his hands, making beautiful sounds!
The contrast between these and the more conventionally styled blues numbers really is a feature of this album. It’s a very well balanced collection of songs stripped bare – just vocals and a guitar. Two intricate and hugely enjoyable instrumentals, which are as much akin to classical guitar playing as blues, provide the bookends to this library of songs from the heart. They really are top quality, and demonstrate that Ritchie Dave Porter has tremendous skill in those fingers of his, and he deserves great credit for this collection of work.
The End of the Line is just the start with Ritchie Dave Porter
I have liked Ritchie Dave Porter ever since I read an interview with him by Michael Limnios, where he said “I would encourage the younger generation of today to stop listening to crap like Kanye West and Justin Bieber and open their hearts and souls to real musicianship and encourage them to download Jimi Hendrix ‘Are you experienced”’. Now here is a man I can relate to.
If he is new to you, then a potted history… Birmingham (UK) born, he has been playing the guitar since he was 11. Having toured a three-piece band called Voodoo Witch Blues Band for a number of years, he called time on this format in the early 2000s and moved on to solo acoustic blues. He has also fought against cancer and is in remission. We here at Bluesdoodles wish you well in your continuing battle Ritchie. So, a lot has happened to this musician and experiences and tribulations like these have informed and coloured his writing. Although predominantly acoustic-based, RDP, as he refers to himself, is not averse to plugging in and rocking it up with his SG or Strat.
His latest release, End Of The Line, is 11 tracks of pure blues; there are no pretentions here. He cites the usual blues masters as inspiration but rarely can they be identified. He certainly has a style of playing and recording that sets him apart. This is mainly because, although he plays all instruments bar the drums, he has eschewed the usual voice and guitar only recording approach. He has used multi-tracking to great effect, giving depth to the instrumentation and the sometimes off-kilter, Jack Bruce type vocals are improved too. The tracks are all compact, lasting around 3 minutes, but a lot of music is packed into every one.
The album is bookended with two delightful instrumentals; Blues at Sunrise is an attention grabber with echoing acoustic giving an almost tropical feel, and Blues at Twilight providing expansiveness rarely found on an acoustic instrumental.
Dog Without a Bone builds from a picked intro with the guitar falling silent for the vocals. Until the chorus that is, when strummed patterns reflect the words “I can make it alone ‘cos I play the blues”. 12 Long Hours brings a standard 12 bar approach but the picking behind it, lifts it into a traditional blues classic in waiting. Hell Yeah Man, I got the Blues has the guitar replicating the melody and the signature picking/strumming overdubs which set RDP apart from the many. Track five gets us rocking with RDP plugging in and showing equal prowess on the electric guitar. Happy Home opens with a guitar sequence which reminds me of Paul Kossoff in his pre-Free days when he played with Black Cat Bones. A strong blues/rock number that has a clichéd riff but is not a cliché when it all comes together, especially with the solo which shows skill and feeling with more Kossoff undertones. Let Me Tell You About the Blues, does what it says. A lovely progression to this guitar piece, with his trademark picking expanding the overall sound to great effect. My Father comes out of the blocks like tunes Gallagher was producing around his Blueprint era. Sad lyrics have not infected the guitar, with a great solo included. Baby Why You Treat Me So Bad is a shuffle of the highest order, with descending chord patterns the highlight. I Needed Some Lovin’ takes a BB King like riff and by carefully inserting just a couple of notes on top of the classic phrasing, he brings a freshness to it. The title track, End of the Line has really strong echoes of Gillan’s (the band) Puget Sound; the verse follows such a similar melody. The song is lifted again by the guitar structure behind it and the short and sweet solo.
This is a hugely enjoyable album if you like your blues blue. RDPs playing always fascinates and, although there is no new ground broken, you get a style and skill that will never become tiresome and an album you will keep returning to.
SEVENdoodle paws out of TEN
The new album from RDP, coming this Spring..
Ritchie Dave Porter is a blues guitarist from Birmingham.
For his second release Ritchie decided to release an acoustic EP. What we hear is the blues reduced to seven small listening songs. All songs are pure and sincere. Ritchie decided in his own kitchen with two microphones to record the album. Together with producer
Michael Tingle managed this within a day.
Musicians like Dave Ritchie Porter deserve the attention for their music. This is a pleasant album to listen to. For all lovers of acoustic blues this album is a must.
-From the Dutch translation
Blues in Greece online – Keep the blues Alive
“If you like your blues simple and straightforward with some fantastic guitar lines, then this is the place for you.”
Interview with British guitarist/songwriter Ritchie Dave Porter – music from his struggles and life adventures. Read the full interview here:
‘I quite liked “Rocking The Blues”, the last album from Ritchie Dave Porter, although I did say that:
“when he does rock out on … he doesn’t always convince, but when he gets into instrumental mode … then it’s an absolute delight. He also does a fair turn on the acoustic blues … and it’s on the latter styles that he really shines.”
So what does he but turn round and punt out a 7 track acoustic blues EP. Something you may have guessed from the title. And it’s really enjoyable as he works his way through a set of original numbers which really do showcase his excellent guitar work.
There are no duffers here, but first time around it was ‘I Got No Money’ and ‘Once I Had a Pretty Girl’ that had me hitting the repeat button. If you like your blues simple and straightforward with some fantastic guitar lines, then this is the place for you.’
By DJ John Van Lent
“Hey folks let me introduce myself. My name is John van Lent and I have a program called living Room Blues every Thursday on www.kconlineradio.com. Being a Dutchie DJ I receive a lot of material throughout the year to be played in my program. Some more interesting than the others as you may understand. Since a while I have been listening and became more interested in the way RDP makes his statement using the guitar and his voice and performing the blues. I really fancy his material and he knows I am very keen on his acoustical material. So I was very glad I received his album and have been spinning it in the program a few times already. So do check him out and enjoy the simplicity with how he plays his instrument and gives you the feeling to be part of it. Great to listen to and it is wishful thinking to be able to play the blues like he does. Seems easy but I know it has been very hard work over the past years to be able to perform it the way he does. Thanks Ritchie. Love the sound of it and be sure to hear it regularly in the program Living Room Blues on www.kconlineradio.com.Thanks for the music.”
Translated from the Italian
Soul Blues … Heart Rock!
10 OVERALL RATING “PERFECT”
A look in the musical Blues, the ” Devil’s Music “by definition, introduced me to, thanks to other fans like me ( that between blues, rock, metal and allied us through water! ), a guitarist / bassist / singer, truly exceptional: Ritchie Dave Porter .
Born in Birminghman (UK), January 18, 1970. Son of un’ufficiale naval and a professional dancer.
Ritchie, began playing the guitar at age 11, impressed ( I would say very positively ), the work record and the guitar technique of legends like Jimi Hendrix , Jimmy Page , Eric “Slowhand” Clapton and Johnny Winter , spending hours and hours to “jamming” with his favorite guitar heroes, learning their solos note by note, for all his “formative period “as a guitarist.
In 1994, Ritchie, formed his first band, a power-trio called ” Voodoo Witch Blues Band “, which publishes a live album (without the use of studio overdubs), entitled” Blues On Fire “, the trio brings tour through Germany and Denmark.
After 8 years of touring, Ritchie, melts the group.
Ritchie also becomes, although temporarily, dissatisfied music industry as happened to three of his best friends, died because of drug and alcohol abuse, a direct result of the lifestyle of rock-star.
With new friends with the drummer and producer Michael Tingle , Ritchie, starts the recording of new music material, cut eclectic and influenced by the sounds of great artists and groups such as the aforementioned left-handed guitarist best known as Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top, the aforementioned Johnny Winter, Led Zeppelin, Clapton, the Stones and early Aerosmith. This takes him to perform in both the native Birmingham in the West Midlands in England.
The work progressed to the great, but for the peculiar habit of bad luck in wanting to force complicate the existence of others, to Ritchie, is diagnosed with cancer that will take him to three months of chemotherapy and having to undergo a delicate surgery.
But, since not all silver lining, during the period of treatment, thanks to its acoustic guitar and the presence of Michael Tingle, Ritchie records directly to the hospital the song ” Morphine Blues “, inspired by the effects of treatment and therapy that is forced to endure.
From this single, very popular in the US, will be born the first album on behalf Ritchie Dave Porter, titled ” Rocking The Blues “: an album very popular in USA, continuously transmitted from the major music radio stations Blues, product by the same Tingle, who also participates as a drummer.
Ritchie Dave Porter – Rocking The BluesThe album consists of 14 tracks. Already from the opening track ” Return To The Saddle “is immediately clear that the musical style of Ritchie Dave Porter spaces from the typical sounds of the blues of the origins of the purest rock & blues classy . Also proves to have good vocal abilities perfectly blended to the mat melodic. Doti guitar well proven and a good rhythm section, are the basis of ” Is not Giving Up On Love “. Well-constructed solos that give the song a retro flavor and well-written vocal lines give the right picking style to the song. ” 3 am “shows rhythms rhythmic, almost hypnotic. A perfect song for the radio broadcast. With ” Waiting For The Train “we move towards shores music on the border of the classic Blues and Country more blood. Following is the single that gave birth to the album: ” Morphine Blues , “which There redelivery landscapes rock & blues. A piece completely instrumental, creepy! With the sixth track in the lineup ” I’m Back “, style moves further towards the sound and the groove of the legendary Rolling Stones. Even the vocal lines reached, in some small resemblance, the style of Mick Jagger. Pure energy guitar for ” Into The Darkness “, the seventh song of the disc, and the second track totally instrumental. The couple later songs, ” One Night “and” Lord Have Mercy “takes us back in the lands of the Delta Blues typical, made of acoustic guitars, drums and vocals just mentioned by bluesman consumed. danceable rhythms, energetic melody and text that gives joy are the basis of the tenth piece ” Rabbit In The Hole ” . Third song without words – which incidentally also takes away the hearers – is the eleventh track in the lineup: ” Autumn “. The album comes close to its conclusion with ” The Stygian Witch “and” Spanish Tears ” . Two songs united by a common feature: slow, rhythmic intro that turns into a “slow and rhythmic” ride electric flavor Latin and Hispanic. These two songs are completely instrumental closing. The worthy closing of this first album of the British guitarist is entrusted vigorous and unrestrained ” Rock Chick “. A song that reflects the lessons of rock and blues dictated by the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top.
That’s not all, in April this year, will be released the second EP Ritchie, entitled ” Acoustic Blues EP “.
Dave Ritchie Porter- acoustic blues-front coverThe EP consists of 7 tracks.
As the title suggests, all songs in the lineup are pieces of acoustic blues and blood, where there are also moments energetic and imbued with different musical atmospheres.
A work that brings to mind the works music of the great masters (and Legends) of the Blues as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin ‘Wolf and John Lee Hooker, just to name some of the most representative.
This time I prefer not to reveal any trace of the EP, because I wish it were those who law (and listen) to discover them and savor them one by one, without interference and external opinions. Believe me it’s worth it!
A job done with passion and respect for a genre as the great Hendrix ” Easy to play but hard to hear! ” (“Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel!”) .
A trip to the “Devil’s Music” more pure and uncontaminated by other genres, is recommended to lovers of the Blues ( like myself ) that those reading this will want to discover the sounds and tastes of music that gave birth to Rock and his children.
Review by Pete Feenstra
“Ritchie Dave Porter is a blues-rock guitarist from Birmingham who tells us on his liner notes that: ‘Rocking the Blues’ is the expression of my soul through the guitar’, and also that: ‘Every note is played with emotion’.
You can’t argue with his sentiments even if some of the songs don’t quite cut it. With the exception of a few drum tracks, Ritchie is responsible for everything on an album that is full of passionate songs, intricate acoustic to scorching electric guitar licks and a close to the mic vocal that draws the listener in to Michael Tingle’s coherent arrangements.
This is a blues rock album that eschews cliché, through simple lyrics that reflect personal experiences and thoughts, such as ‘Return To The Saddle’ , and the acoustic to electric highlight ‘Ain’t Giving Up On Love’. The latter moves seamlessly from a rhythmic acoustic intro, to a scorching electric guitar line with the same warm expressive vocals that colours all 14 songs.
The album is theoretically split in to the old vinyl idea of side one and two, with side one being mostly acoustic to electric arrangements, while on side two he frequently strips things down.
He’s not quite convincing on the slow blues of ‘3AM’ which labours to overcome a variable double tracked vocal and a sludgy tempo, but it eventually recovers with an incisive, and crisp electric solo that rings with a resonant tone. And as he works his way lyrically though the early hours of the morning, the song does have the dubious quality of evoking a hangover!
He’s far better on the acoustic slide and folk-blues feel of ‘Waiting For The Train’, before he adds an parallel electric guitar line on a busy track that tries too hard. Much like ‘3AM’, the dreamy instrumental ‘Morphine Blues’ does a great job in evoking the song title, with a snaking lead solo bathed in echo reverb and crisp percussion.
‘I’m Back’ kicks ass and mirrors its rock & roll message, while he heavies things up on another instrumental ‘Into the Darkness’ with an edgy buzz guitar line.
There’s deft picking on the live in the studio ‘Lord Have Mercy’ and some excellent dobro on ‘Rabbit in the Hole’ with Michael Tingle joining him on drums. There’s a curious dynamic to the track, which starts out with a lyrically laid back summery feel before a startling electric guitar burst lifts it from its languor.
The slow building melody and rich tone of ‘Autumn’ could be Snowy White, while ‘The Stygian Which’ is another arresting melody with a beautiful acoustic guitar shadowed by two electric guitar lines, suggesting his strength lies in melodic instrumentals. It’s not strictly blues of course, but it’s played from the heart.
‘Rock Chic’ rounds things off with a disposable rocker that is in dire need of a bass line, but again there’s no denying the burning of his licks.
‘Rocking the Blues’ achieves its aim of playing music with emotion. Not everything works and the album as a whole has a live demo feel, but it’s that edge that makes ‘Rocking the Blues’ just a little bit different from the usual rock blues fare. ***”