Ray Pierle 1980 / Out-Sider 2016
Indianapolis rock maven’s attempt of a closet stardom that secured him a cult glory.
It was a matter of perseverance rather than trying to seize the concepts listed on this album’s sleeve. With only 300 copies pressed, same quantity as 1978’s “Into You” by McKAY – an earlier vehicle for Ray Pierle’s creations – the artist’s first solo LP didn’t make much of a splash either, yet what ripple it sent down the line turned the record into an obscure classic. The key to the album’s success is its songs’ immediacy, some of those being demos, and their hard rock sharpness, which brings the aforementioned concepts into focus, although the brilliance of Ray’s twin-guitar weave on the title track is defying tentative cheapness or hurriedness of Pierle’s approach.
This piece has much more glam in its fuzz than a deliberately rough cut of rollicking jive that is “Roll Me Up” or “Workingman’s Blue” whose middle-of-the-road harmonies and crunch lift the heavy lid of the number’s subject, but then the twang of “C’mon Strange Dance” is bent into elegant funk. Groove’s the king here, as the six-string strains in “Till The End Of The Night” provide ample space for a cosmic country-rock roll, one so light in “Just Thinking.” Elsewhere, the riffs of “Start Over” welcome progressive patterns into the mix, before the “Wish I’d Always Feel This Way” blues are dipped in psych bleach, yet “Madman Money” stages a return to the record’s underlying theme – common laborer vs big buck – rather playfully wrapping the bitter truth into the catchiest of tunes.
It’s a desperate LP in many aspects, and one of them had been its desire to be widely heard. Now, this wish is granted.