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.