Since the release of his debut album Speak Me
(which featured hit Florida anthem "Girl From Immokolee"), outlaw singer/guitarist Raiford Starke has earned a rep for high powered roots rocking live performances. Guitarist/producer Jack Shawde
decided to capture some of that energy one night and recorded a live Raiford Starke set from the stage at The Poorhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s now Raiford Starke’s new release!
"Texas Dust & Florida Rust" is not just the name of the title track but could serve as a possible description of the Raiford Starke sound (if only for the choice of not one but two Doug Sahm covers in the set). The title tune is an autobiographical drive over Gulf Coast highways, from the Lone Star state (where he kicked up dust with late songwriting mentor Dicky Wilson, whose poignant "Gentle Breeze" from Speak Me
gets a reprise here as the set’s stillest moment) to the Florida swamps where rust never sleeps and the rambling Raiford now abides.
Camped along that trail is the Bo Diddley mambo "Crackin’ Up", with its copious quotes creating a beach party jam suitable for any Redneck Riviera. Harder drinking takes place at Hoyt Axton’s "Lightning Bar" and the band strips down Alabama’s "Song of The South" only to recast it as a classic rock anthem. The sojourn comes full circle with another Dicky Wilson original "West Virginia Line," which expresses the kind of wanderlust that propelled young Virginia native Colin Kenny, the man who would be Raiford Starke, on his dusty rusty path through life and music.
Fundamental to the sonic impact of this recording are the players, starting with Raiford’s long time cohort Stevie Grandmaison
, legendary Tampa Bay musician of groups like 90’s cult act Deloris Telescope. Stevie’s harmony vocals hone tight like a Don Rich to Starke’s Buck Owens, while his sinewy low slung bass uplifts the grooves as much as anchors them. Veteran picker Jack Shawde
(Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield) is among the few with the guts and finesse to compliment Raiford on guitar, employing a quiver of artisanal instruments and dexterous licks to silk line the denim jacket of Starke’s signature Silvertone. While it might seem like this interlocking guitar attack is what pushes a couple of the album’s tracks past the ten minute mark, it is renowned drummer John Yarling pulling the group up to its most frenzied heights, his masterful playing a real tour de force throughout.
Texas Dust & Florida Rust
opens with the Raiford Starke band’s upgrading of the Georgia Satellites’ John Fogerty cover, "Almost Saturday Night," a chiming call to arms that really sets the tone for the rest of the album and is the perfect introduction to a rocking set from this guitar slinging American hero! Download right now on Bandcamp
, iTunes and elsewhere. Compact discs are available for mail order online, in select retail outlets as well as at every Raiford Starke show.
(John Stacey, Big Cypress Records)