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Ben Ratliff, “Misplaced Desire”

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Ben Ratliff’s EP “Misplaced Desire” is a double-barrelled blues shotgun, powered equally by Ratliff’s icy baritone vocals and his and Jeff Winter’s chunky guitar riffs, with support from a solid rhythm section and production that strikes a good balance between clean and moody.

Ratliff’s raw, rootsy sound comes out of city and country blues traditions, but the songwriting takes in other forms, from the heavy-metal drawl of “Leviathan” – an apocalyptic indictment of the Bush oiligopoly – to the bluesy tango of the closer “You Never Miss:”

You were trouble, I might have guessed
A Jezebel in a cocktail dress…
On the outside, a southern belle
With a tongue fired up in hell
I beg and plead for one more kiss
You know I’m always like this
Cause you never miss

Ratliff maintains his grim energy through the minor-key blues of “Permanent Midnight,” which has a Ray Wylie Hubbard vibe, the lost-love lyrics of the chunky country waltz “Time Slips Away,” and the insistent beat of the original folk-ballad “My Dayz” where Ratliff’s vocals seem to channel Ian Anderson at his wryest.

Highly recommended for roots-music fans everywhere.

Available at CD Baby

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • http://be-jazz.blogspot.com mwanji

    I suppose this isn’t the Ben Ratliff that writes for the NY Times?

  • http://www.jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    No it’s not, but I understand he gets that all the time. In fact I think there’s something about it on his website, benratliff.com.

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