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RICK RAY and 25 years of music on the Neurosis label

It’s funny how ideas pop into your head, but I was thinking about the music of Ohio guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire yesterday and was pleased that the pile of Rick’s CDs that he has kindly sent me over the years – I believe I have every single one – survived our house move.

I consulted old copies of “Acid Dragon” and started to make up a compilation CD of my favourites from Rick’s back catalogue when the gremlins kicked in to scupper my project. I did manage to get half an hour’s worth recorded though! I was basing my choices on my own recollections, reviews and Rick’s opinions in interviews.

So, if you want to check out Rick’s music here are some recommendations from the year 1999 when he started releasing CDs on his Neurosis label. But first of all, as a brief preamble, Rick has fronted three bands: Neurotic, Riot Act and The Rick Ray Band, the latter still going strong, as well as a series of solo albums with reeds man Rick Schultz, still a member of Rick’s band to this day. They have supported some amazing artists, once opening for one of Rick’s own favourite bands Mahogany Rush, fronted by Frank Marino at the Odeon, Cleveland, Ohio. 26th July was the date.

Here's what made it onto the CD before the gremlins moved in:

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (a real historical artefact from 1978 recorded on a 2-track Sony reel. Then comes my all-time favourite Rick track ‘Your Short Life’ from his first album on Neurosis, “Abnormal Road”. The heavy rocker (think a proggy AC/DC!) ‘Fire It Up’ was my (difficult) choice from the “Balance of Power” album from 1999. This song has popped up more than once in Rick’s catalogue. A 3 minute+ number to follow an 8 min+, so far so good, then a ‘ballad’, in ‘A Different Time’, from “The Great Antagonist” (there were a few candidates to choose from). And then possibly my second favourite all-timer, ‘The Daulhowz Concerto’, a five-part track starting with ‘Dolly the Parton’ and ending with ‘Barbie the Dolly’ from the “Atomic Soldiers” album featuring the most amazing ‘sparring’ between Rick Schultz and his lightning fingered companion. That was as far as I got in terms of recording.

For the sake of completeness candidates for the rest of 1999 compilation were:

‘Almost Beyond Repair’, from Rick’s fifth album “Clone Man” - just like my recording machine - ironically this was the point it decided it wasn’t recording anymore!

‘Divine Wind’ (“Neurotic Tendencies”), one of Rick’s picks when speaking to him many moons ago. I might have added ‘Noone Knows Your Name’.

The lengthy title track from “The Key to the Bottomless Pit” would also have been a must. This would have added up to a nice double album old style.


Finally, for the unacquainted, Rick Ray, in an early interview with me, cited King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Marino (of course!), The Beatles and Captain Beyond amongst his influences. His songs are hard hitting targeting manipulation and deception by politicians and media, thus even more relevant than ever. Some of his album titles, “Manipulated DNA” and “Mind Control Inc.”, as well as song titles like ‘Isotope 239’ and ‘The Einstein Blues’, tell their own story.


PS Rick just got in touch and said he is starting to record a new album on 8th June and that he has already remastered “Manipulated DNA” (2001).


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