Garfeel Ruff - 1979 Garfeel Ruff
ARTIST: Garfeel Ruff
ALBUM: Garfeel Ruff
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Rickey Godfrey - guitar * Ronnie Godfrey - keyboards * Buddy Strong - guitar * Franklin Wilkie - bass * Alan Pearson - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Starshine * 02 Pine Needles Don't Cry * 03 On The Telephone * 04 Show Me Your Love * 05 Runaround * 06 Take A Look * 07 Purple Satin Lady * 08 I'm Hungry * 09 You Make Me Feel Real * 10 The Choice Is Yours
This was a band from South Carolina, that came to fruition around 1974. They were a traditional southern rock band, operating in the same space as Wet Willie, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band and the Allman Brothers. Interestingly, the two lead guys - brothers Rickey and Ronnie Godfrey were both born blind, but that didn't deter them from playing music, a lifelong journey it would seem.
They were originally called Garfield Ruff, but changed their name to avoid a conflict with another artist around the same time called Garfield (Garfield French). After much negotiation between 1976 and 1978, the band finally settled on Capitol Records, and were sent to Muscle Shoals in Alabama. The debut was recorded twice, because the suits at Capitol didn't like the first cut, so it was re-recorded and released in 1979.
There's an interesting assortment of material here. It sits squarely in the southern rock camp, though does tend to branch off in a few different directions. The opener 'Starshine' kicks off as a pastoral affair, lucid and flowing, before the stinging guitar solo gives us an idea what lies under the hood.
'Pine Needles Don't Cry' is a hokey fusion of southern rock and country, like some of their peers listed above. 'On The Telephone' meanwhile is just straight out four-bar boogie a la Status Quo.
'Show Me Your Love' features more electric piano/keyboard than most and only lifts toward the end with a nice solo. This one sounds similar to an Atlanta Rhythm Section tune.
I didn't quite get into the sub-par boogie of 'Runaround', 'Take A Look' was more interesting instead, heading down a mildly funk path. 'Purple Satin Lady' returns the band to a blend of country, folk and southern rock which seems to be their forte. 'I'm Hungry' is more barroom boogie, the album completed by two tracks 'You Make Me Feel Real' and 'The Choice Is Yours' which were OK but not setting the world on fire either.
Capitol also arranged for the band to record songs for the 1977 movie 'The Hitter', and they supplied three songs for that, for which most was soul, funk and disco material. Beyond the debut album, Capitol bailed on signing the band on to a second album, even though one was recorded called 'Born To Play'. Apparently Capitol were moving in the new wave/power pop direction and The Knack became their pet project.
At last report, the band were still doing the occasional gig as recently as 2012, and you can see some of their recent performances on You Tube.
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