HANK RAY – “BAR-B-Q OF SOULS” NEW ALBUM 2006
Gothic / Death Country -‘solo’ recordings and appearances have always played a prominent part in the canon of HANK RAY – the man / the mind behind THE RAYMEN / THE HOLY ROLLER TRASH INC - ever since the early days of 1987, when the third RAYMEN album “From The Trashcan To The Ballroom” saw the light of day in the shape of the now sought-after double e.p. !
The first RAY solo shows were arranged around that time also, concentrating mainly on slow-motion Country treatments and ballads such as “Tonight”, done by Iggy Pop on his “Lust For Life” album, thus serving as a kind of artistic counterpoint to the Electro-Trash-Rock Mayhem produced by THE RAYMEN.
Well, how can we describe this multi–colored, distinguished style, this Euro-Americana cosmo-vision that has been developed and perfected by HANK RAY over recent years?
To cut a long story short…we may simply call it a hybrid!
It’s the combination of a dark, luring ‘Country’ And ‘Western’ romanticism ( Bob Nolan with The Sons Of The Pioneers, Tex Ritter, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, …) with some distinct elements of ‘strangeness’ / ‘weirdness’ ( The Velvet Underground, Cpt. Beefheart, John Cale, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, David Bowie ….) injected.
These ‘roots’ have laid the foundation for his unique musical patterns over the past years of ‘balladeering’.
Just to furthermore brighten the picture…take the aforementioned and add some respectful, humble nods to Blues / Gospel legends: Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Howlin’ Wolf, Mahalia Jackson as well as a good deal of Ray’s likings for ‘Opera bigshots’, e.g. Enrico Caruso, Benjamino Gigli, Tito Schipa - just to mention but a few of his favorites - and you’ll get a pretty decent inside-description of the Ray–pool of inspirations.
The first HANK RAY solo studio-recordings were made around the summer of 1990…during the sessions for THE RAYMEN / “BILLION SELLERS” album (no. 4), which was released in spring 1991.
Of course, solo recordings were reportedly made before that particular session - some dating back as far as early 1983 - but most of these recordings were simple home-recorded demos and - like e.g., the acoustic blueprints of songs later to appear on the “GOING DOWN TO DEATH VALLEY” album - never destined for commercial release.
The 1990 sessions produced two haunting Ray originals “Heaven Sent Or Born In Hell” and “Death Letter” ( not the Son House tune!! ) plus an extraordinary treatment of Porter Wagoner’s ‘Ode to the padded cell’ , “The Rubber Room”.
“Heaven Sent…” and “Death Letter” were released as one side of the, long-out-of-print, “DEATH LETTER REQUIEM” 7”- color vinyl e.p. on One Million Dollar Records in 1994.
The year before - 1993 - saw the advent of “MAINSTREAM DEATH COUNTRY”,
Ray’s full-length solo debut for One Million Dollar Records - recorded in summer, ’91.
On these recordings, the same musicians who had already showcased their talents on the “BILLION SELLERS” platter the year before, once again displayed their crafts to provide the perfect back bone for RAY’s readings such as “Night Time Devils”, “Blues Turn Red”, “Golden H.”, “Party”, “Overshadowed” and the Country-Glamrock anthem “Everybody’s Into Rock’n’Roll”.
Cult-movie director Wenzel Storch supervised and directed the shooting of a ‘video extraordinaire’ to “Everybody’s Into Rock’n’Roll” in late 1993.
In 1995 some more solo sessions were held at Masterplan Recorders with Mr. Pothead Grujic twisting the knobs and providing instrumental support.
At that session a total of seven pre-dominantly dark, fuzz-drowned Death country weepers were recorded by Ray all by himself with the occasional assistance mentioned above.
Six of them, “Ghost Of Your Love”, “The House I Live In”, “Helldorado”, “Lover’s Lament”, “Lord, The Ground Is Cold As Clay” and “Sleep, Haunted Heart” formed the centerpiece of what was to become the highly-acclaimed “COUNTRICIDE” album, released on One Million Dollar Records in fall, 2000.
One song from the sessions “Home Beneath Devil’s Trail”, has remained in the can since then.
Maybe the only lively, up-tempo piece of the lot didn’t fit into the scheme of things. Who knows?!
Finally, the three songs recorded in 1990, “Heaven Sent…”, “Death Letter” and the -thus far- unreleased “The Rubber Room” made it onto “COUNTRICIDE” as well.
These three plus two alternative mixes held back from the “Mainstream Death Country” sessions, “The Day Sweet Valerie Turned Evil” and “Overshadowed” and an early vocal / guitar version of “Behind Brown Eyes”, recorded at the “Music To Lynch Your Lover By “ sessions in late 1996, finally made for what must be called Ray’s most-coherent work …a stunning time-warp considering the fact that the material covers a total time-span of more-or-less six years.
1997 saw RAY’s debut as Dimitri Tiomkin’s /Ennio Morricone’s evil twin, recording two ill-fated instros for a SPAGHETTI-WESTERN compilation called “Duck You Suckers”.
These instros, “Outlaw Kill” and “There’s A Pale Moon Over The Valley Of Darkness” showcase another facet of the man’s many talents.
More contributions to compilations released worldwide were recorded during the years 1998 – 2003.
The ultimate top of the heap must be the Hollywood-opera style version of the western classic “River Of No Return” known to most people via Marilyn Monroe’s incomparable movie version displaying thee ultimate height of “Female Frailty Gone Grandezza Galore”.
RAY’s version – paying tribute to The Sons Of The Pioneers’ and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s versions rather than Marilyn’s - highlights the “HOUR OF THE GUN” compilation, released on One Million Dollar Records in 2003.
A four track Christmas e.p. “Blue Notes From Deadroom No. One” scheduled for Christmas 2001 release was recorded in late summer of the same year but for reasons yet unrevealed never saw the light of day.
Among the featured tracks were, “River Of No Return”, a cover of Johnny Cash’s “God Has My Fortune Laid Away” ( one of Ray’s fav Cash tunes), a hauntingly – beautiful rendition of Jimmy Wakely’s “If Santa Claus Could Bring You Back To Me” plus the self-penned Christmas tune “(Christmas Brings Back Memories Of) Mother And Home”.
Though never officially released, ‘unidentified’ promotional copies are rumored to be seen at auctions from time to time…
In July, 2004 Rhythm Bomb Records’ plans to release a HANK RAY CD with material from the “lesser known” / “so-called-unreleased” canon of Hank Williams, Sr. finally took shape.
Answering the call, Hank selected 4 Hank Williams “poems”, the man himself had never recorded and wrote “new” music / arrangements to these Hank lyrics to be released on his third solo album : “BALLADS FROM THE BADLANDS OF HEARTS”.
These “remodeled” versions of “Forever’s A Long, Long Time”, “A Stranger In The Night”, “Somebody’s Lonesome” and “Your Turn To Cry” are the results of this “Collaboration From Beyond The Grave”…
The above-mentioned titles plus another 12 more HankOnHank recordings were done during two sessions at Berlin’s Lightning Recording Services in the summer of 2004.
Each song was done as a straight vocal / guitar performance ( many of them first takes ) with stand-up bass, tremolo guitar and organ added later for a “fuller” sound.
12 selections were finally chosen for album release…
“BALLADS FROM THE BADLANDS OF HEARTS” ( Rhythm Bomb Records No. 5621 ) ………
NEW ALBUM “BAR-B-Q OF SOULS” —– SOON TO BE AVAILABLE!!!
HANK RAY – selected releases
vinyl long players, e.p.’s and cd’s
HANK RAY: “MAINSTREAM DEATH COUNTRY” One Million Dollar, 1993
HANK RAY: “DEATH LETTER REQUIEM” One Million Dollar, 1994
HANK RAY: “COUNTRICIDE” One Million Dollar, 2000
HANK RAY: “BALLADS FROM THE BADLANDS OF HEARTS” Rhythm Bomb, 2005
v.a. - compilations
HANK RAY: “OUTLAW KILL”
“THERE’S A PALE MOON OVER THE VALLEY OF DARKNESS”
V.A. “Spaghetti – Duck You Suckers” One Million Dollar, 1997
HANK RAY: “FLAMINGO SUNSET”
V.A. “Spaghetti II – Revenge!” One Million Dollar, 1999
HANK RAY: “GUNSMOKE”
V.A. “A Swamp Room Happening 2000” Swamp Room, 2000
HANK RAY with The Royal Fingers: “BOOMERANG BABY”
V.A. “Eleki Wakadai Show 2002” One Million Dollar, 2002
HANK RAY: “RIVER OF NO RETURN”
V.A. “The Hour Of The Gun” One Million Dollar, 2003
HANK RAY feat. Mr. T-Base: “SATANIC FREAK OF THE WESTERN WASTELAND”
V.A. “Spaghetti III – See Ya in Hell” One Million Dollar, 2004
HANK RAY: “JUDGEMENT DAY”
V.A. “Terra Luna Comp 01” Sir Hake Records, 2004
HANK RAY: “MEN WITH BROKEN HEARTS”
V.A. “Perfect For Parties” El Toro & Rhythm Bomb, 2004
HANK RAY: “DOWN THERE WHERE THE WILLOWS GROW”
Split single - “COUNTRYCIDE” Swamp Room, 2005
HANK RAY: “ONCE UPON A NIGHT ON HAZARD MOUNTAIN”
V.A. “30!!! Years Bear Family Records” Bear Family Box Set, 2005
HANK RAY: “NOWHERE TRAIN”
V.A. “That’s Life – At the Wild At Heart Vol. 3” Wild At Heart, 2005
HANK RAY : “COLD DEATH ANGEL’S EMBRACE”
From the movie “Twisted Sisters” Dark Black Film Production, 2006
HANK RAY: “GHOST CLINIC”
V.A. “A Tribute to the Fuzztones” Sin, 2006
HANK RAY feat. DM Bob: ”Red Temple Fires”
V.A. “Spaghetti IV” One Million Dollar, 2006 tbc
HANK RAY - Lead Vocal on “BURY MY LIVER BY THE BEND OF THE RIVER”
THE ORIG. REVEREND JONES: “SHAKE, REVEREND, SHAKE” Loudsprecher, 1999
HANK RAY - Lead Vocal / Rhythm Guitar on ‘TRAIN OF SIN”
THE PERCOLATORS: “AT THE HOUSE OF BIZARRE DREAMS” Jungle Noise, 1994
THE RAYMEN / HOLY ROLLER TRASH INC. – selected releases
vinyl long players, e.p.’s and cd’s
THE RAYMEN: “THE RAYMEN” Green Alien / Glitterhouse, 1984
THE RAYMEN: “GOING DOWN TO DEATH VALLEY” Rebel Recs. / SPV, 1985
THE RAYMEN: “DESERT DRIVE” Rebel Recs. / SPV / Blue Turtle, 1986
THE RAYMEN: “FROM THE TRASHCAN TO THE BALLROOM” Rebel Recs./SPV /Blue Turtle, 1987
THE RAYMEN: “BILLION SELLERS” Kinghat Recs. / Roof, 1991
THE RAYMEN: “BUZZSAW BABY OF THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS” (Single) Giant Claw Recs., 1992
HOLY ROLLER TRASH INC.: “THE BUTCHER’S BLUE YODEL” Hektik Recs., 1993
THE RAYMEN: “THE REBEL YEARS ’85 – ‘87” Rebel Recs. / SPV, 1995
THE RAYMEN: “MUSIC TO LYNCH YOUR LOVER BY” Tombstone Recs., 1997
THE RAYMEN: “LUCIFER’S RIGHT HAND MEN” Loudsprecher Recs., 1999
THE RAYMEN: “BAD BLOOD” ( E.P. ) Loudsprecher Recs., 1999
THE RAYMEN: “GARBAGED, LITTERED & TOTALLY DESTROYED” Raucous Recs., 2000
THE RAYMEN: “HOLLYWOOD HELL” People Like You Recs., 2000
THE RAYMEN: “LONG LONELY HIGHWAY” ( Mini album ) People Like You Recs, 2001
THE RAYMEN: “ENDLESS PLAINS OF DELIRIOUS LANDS” Split single - Swamp Room, 2005
v.a. - compilations
THE RAYMEN: “THE HOLY JUKEBOX”
V.A. “FOR A FEW PUSSIES MORE/BLOOD ON THE CATS 3” Anagram Recs., 1987
THE RAYMEN: “IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE” ( Demo version )
V.A. “DESPERADOS Vol. 0“ Terz Recs., 1992
THE RAYMEN: “BAD BLOOD ”
V.A. “GOTTA DO THE ROCKIN’” Loudsprecher Recs., 1998
THE RAYMEN: “JEZEBEL”
V.A. “GOTTA DO THE ROCKIN’ Vol. II” Loudsprecher Recs., 1999
THE RAYMEN: “LOCOMOTION”
V.A. “GUITAR CLUB CLASSICS” SPV, 1999
THE RAYMEN: “ADAM & EVIL”
V.A. “WHERE THE BAD BOYS ROCK” People Like You Recs., 2001
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