Ray Wylie Hubbard is one of those Texas old-timers who got in on the ground floor of the outlaw scene, and became an "Americana" elder... He's probably best known as the composer of "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother," a song famously recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker (along with a thousand and one bar bands) and by Walker's group, the Lost Gonzo Band... As well as by Hubbard, of course! Here's a quick look at his work...
Three Faces West "Three Faces West" (Outpost, 1969) (LP)
(Produced by Lynn Calloway)
This was Ray Wylie Hubbard's first album recorded with his highschool band, formed with Wayne Kidd, Rick Fowler, and George Sanders on drums. It's more of a rock'n'roll thing, but still worth tracking down if you're a fan. The group was, I believe, named after an old John Wayne film...
Ray Wylie Hubbard "...And The Cowboy Twinkies" (Reprise, 1975) (LP)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Off The Wall" (Lone Star, 1978) (LP)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Something About The Night" (Renegade, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard & Jim Inmon)
You can smell the stale sweat and sour breath in many of these songs, tales about all-night partying, loves lost, petty crime and seemingy huge consequences which recede in the distance of an alcohol-fueled haze. Rueful and dissolute, Hubbard seems to be putting the capstone on the Me-Decade '70s, although he's still living the life, cranking his way through ragged bar-room anthems and wasted-day ballads. Side One is an in-studio set, while Side Two was recorded live during a April 14, 1979 gig at the Dallas, Texas Palladium, where Hubbard was opening for Jerry Jeff Walker... While maintaining his outlaw-twang cool, Hubbard also tries his hand at penning would-be AOR and, more successfully, dips into more rugged power-chord rock, not quite in the George Thorogood range, but gettin' close. The most resonant songs are the twangier ones, which are mainly about getting drunk and stoned and staying up all night with your buddies -- songs like "Dallas After Midnight," "Lowlife Companions" and "Something About The Night" -- which have a palpably depressing feel, even though Hubbard makes it clear in his live set that he expects to go out and have a few with folks in the crowd after the show is over. He closes the album with an unexpected rock-oriented reworking of "(The Last Recording Of) Redneck Mother (Ever)" which has a tough, driving, grungy sound worthy of Johnny Thunder or the MC5. A nice snapshot of Hubbard and his band in the late days of the outlaw era.
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Caught In The Act" (Misery Loves Company, 1984)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Lost Train Of Thought" (Misery Loves Company, 1992)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Loco Gringo's Lament" (Dejadisc, 1994)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Dangerous Spirits" (Philo, 1997)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Crusades Of The Restless Knights" (Philo, 1999)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Live At Cibolo Creek Country Club" (Philo, 2000)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Eternal And Lowdown" (Philo, 2001)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Growl" (Philo, 2003)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Delirium Tremolos" (Philo, 2005)
Ray Wylie Hubbard "Snake Farm" (Universal-Sustain, 2006)
(Produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard & Gurf Morlix)
Texas altie-oldtimer Ray Wylie Hubbard turns in one of his hardest, grungiest, greasiest, bluesiest albums to date, with a little production assist by Lucinda Williams' longtime collaborator Gurf Morlix, on board as the album's co-producer. The sound -- and feel -- of the record is nearly identical to Williams' recent electric work, with the same heavy, tail-dragging slide guitar and loping, world-weary, dusty-road, poetics. Although I ultimately find this style of Americana rather wearysome, I'm pretty sure that most fans of Lucinda's work will really dig this disc, while longtime Hubbard fans will be ecstatic. And a few of us on the fence about Hubbard's old stuff might find our jaws dropping to hear such a muscular sound behind him now. Worth checking out!
Ray Wylie Hubbard "A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C)" (Bordello, 2010)
Ray Wiley Hubbard "Grifter's Hymnal" (Thirty Tigers/Bordello Records, 2012)
Hick Music Index