July 06, 1987 12:00 PM

Mason Ruffner

On Ruffner’s fine second album, his bluesy style is strong and elemental. The singer-songwriter-guitarist was fortunate to corral Dave Edmunds to produce the record. As Edmunds proved on the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ Tuff Enuf, if not before, he greatly respects traditional juke-joint rock. On Gypsy Bloodhe again makes the material shine without applying an unseemly coat of polish. Edmunds’ own rockabilly tendencies are apparent on the honky-tonk rave-up, Baby, I Don’t Care No More. Otherwise he leaves Ruffner to his own dependable devices. On the blues-rock axis, Ruffner’s record betrays a subtle shift toward the rock pole, particularly on the title track’s Hendrix-like shuffle. The lyric shading is dark—listen to the thinly veiled desperation of Dancin’ on Top of the World. The LP’s second side has a Southern flavor. Ruffner’s Texas accent (he was born in Fort Worth in 1953) becomes more pronounced, his enunciation more slack-jawed, the rhythms looser. Whether he’s playing roadhouse blues or big city rock, though, Ruffner is on target. (CBS Associated)

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