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. ***”
Kevin Hardy- Host “Main Street Blues” KCOR Music Director “Ritchie Dave Porter’s CD “Rockin’ the Blues” may well be misnamed, now don’t get me wrong this is one bad assed CD! It certainly has some great rockin’ blues tracks such as Rock Chick, and I’m Back, but it also has haunting instrumentals such “Autumn”, “The Stygian Witch”, “Spanish Rose” and “Morphine Blues.” Also included in this 14 track masterpiece is great acoustic blues on “Waiting for the Train.” “3am” has a bit of a Jimi Hendrix feel that Ritchie makes all his own, and “Ain’t Giving Up On Love” is by far his most popular song that is pure RDP. This Cd is a must have not only for Blues lovers but for music lovers in general!“
By David Williams “Having been on the live blues scene for some time now,building up a dedicated live following and gaining significant airplay around the traps,ritchie dave porter has finally released the eagerly awaited ,RDP Rockin’ the Blues. With all original music by ritchie and produced/arranged by Michael Tingle,who also lends his hands to percussion,Ritchie has been busy on the live circuit and doing the rounds on local and international radio,putting the last 4 years of pain, sweat and dedication into the final stages of getting into the studio and getting it all down. Fans won’t be disappointed with the result either.Plenty of influences here for a broad appeal to anyone into roots,blues.alternative,classic rock and traditional arrangements,They’re vast and he’s managed to meld together this broad appeal and as a result,pulled together his own distinct sound..Rich in tones and tons of reverb,Ritchie pays homage to those who came before him,with own personal stamp of approval.From the dark moody notes metered out in morphine blues to the anthem like rock chic.Loads of slide, some blistering guitar work and all that lies in between,chops have been cut on this album. Ritchie Dave Porter rocks the blues alright and then some.A fresh approach to an old genre,this album is balanced yet brave. Lord have mercy……“
By David Smart “The Blues with a sharpness you don’t normally hear, for a first album without hype. Brilliant“
Recorded in the Moon and Sky Mobile Recording Studio at the Licky Hills, Birmingham, UK.
RDP – guitar, bass, vocals
Michael Tingle – Drums and production
Moon & Sky Mobile Recording Studio
Ritchie Dave Porter & the Secret have been awarded runner up (out of 2,000 songs) in best recorded track of the year for ‘Morphine Blues’ by SRB radio!
“I’m very pleased that Morphine Blues and the excellent studio production of Michael Tingle is appreciated” – RDP
Thanks so much SRB radio, glad you appreciate the music. Wishing you and all blues fans a great bluesy new year!
And here’s the track in question:
At the Tower of Song, Birmingham UK
Recorded by Mr.Secret
A new track from the forthcoming acoustic blues sessions out next year. ‘When the Sun don’t Shine’.
Recorded by Mr.Secret in Birmingham, UK.
Recorded using the mobile studio in the Licky Hills tracking the drums and guitar live for that authentic blues feel. No more Hell for Ritchie Dave Porter. Lord have mercy.
Recorded while on morphine by Mr.Secret while Ritchie was on his hospital bed (literally).
An acoustic rendition of One Drunken Night: