“I’ve always been more than highly impressed with his guitar playing, down home acoustic blues at times, lightning strike electric at others. His singing is a cross between nothing you ever heard before and something you want to hear more of. He’s the real deal – all blues all the time. Check out Starting Over Again, if you doubt my word. Funky as it gets, and straight from the heart. Listenin’ To The Fallin’ Rain. Come on. This is the real stuff. Richard Ray Farrell, he’s one in a million.” – Dennis Walker, multi-Grammy winning producer
Some people live to make money, and some people make money to live. Some people are music lovers, some people are hobby musicians, and then again some people live and breathe music. They are the "real deal," so to speak. Richard Ray Farrell is one of them. He has not only mastered the art of singing and playing the blues--he has literally "lived" the blues for years on end.
Born in Niagara Falls New York, at the age of 19 Richard Ray started as a street musician or “busker” in Paris, France in 1975. Totally fascinated with the music of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and other legendary blues players, Richard played for hours on end in the halls and tunnels of the Parisian “Metro” subway, scraping out a living as a musician.
Richard lived the life of a true gypsy for years, and actually did live with a Gypsy family for six months in Spain in the late 1970's. He made the move to Germany with his then wife and child in 1985 and started playing for a local blues band in the Stuttgart area. In 1987, Richard opened for Joe Cocker at the Backnang Open Air Festival.
Farrell formed his first trio, the Richard Ray Farrell Band, in 1989. Living in Germany and gradually making a name for himself, Richard started touring in Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland and Belgium with a former sideman to R.L. Burnside, Jon Morris Nerenberg. It was through Jon that Richard started meeting older bluesmen from the American South and accompanying them on tours throughout Europe. Tours with Lazy Lester, Big Jack Johnson, Big Boy Henry, Louisiana Red, Frank Frost and R.L. Burnside followed.
Touring on and off with R.L. Burnside and Frank Frost for a period of about four years between 1990 and 1993, in 1992 Richard drew the attention of German record producer Alf List, founder of the Stormy Monday label. Richard put out his first CD produced by List, Live in Germany later that year.
In 1993, Richard and Jon formed the band "Street Talk" together with David Olson (Robert Cray's Grammy Award winning drummer) and Joel Foy (ex-of James Harman, William Clarke and Screamin' Jay Hawkins).
In 1995, Richard got a phone call from Jimmy Carl Black, legendary drummer with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Jimmy had recently moved to the area and they soon formed the FARRELL & BLACK band. The group proved to be very successful and went on to record two CD's for Stormy Monday, Cataract Jump in 1996 and Black Limousine in 1999.
Richard also put out an impressive solo acoustic CD on Stormy Monday in 1998 entitled Street Songs, Jazzy Tunes & Down Home Blues.
In 2001 Richard relocated to the Philadelphia area. In 2003 he recorded his first CD for Blue Beet Music, Bohemian Life, reaching #18 on the Living Blues charts.
In June 2005 Richard released a second CD with Blue Beet Music, Acoustic Roots. This CD features classic ragtime and delta blues covers from the 20’s and 30’s. The recording was done live with no overdubs and features Richard on guitar, vocals and occasional harmonica on the rack. This CD reached #20 on the Living Blues Charts.
In October 2006 Richard, together with Steve Guyger, released Down Home Old School Country Blues. This CD immediately reached #18 on the Living Blues Charts.
Richard Ray Farrell
I Sing the Blues Eclectic
1. O’l Man Blues
2. Cherry On The Cream
3. Bad As You Wanna Be
4. Memphis Bound
5. Starting Over Again
6. Listenin’ To The Fallin’ Rain
7. Leisure Man
8. Steady Eatin’ Woman
9. Little Suzie
10. Sweet Dreams (of You)
12. Ride That Freedom Train