“THESE VISIONS”

– From its Author’s perspective: Stanley Earle Ratliff

 These Visions is an energized journey, compiled of concepts, dreamscapes, nightmares, reflections & predictions… I deliver from a hard working class, grinding it out into fifty-seven minutes of three chords & the truth, primarily rapped in 1/8  to 1/4 syllables  written in wry comparative.

 

The set leads off with “SISTA’ ‘TRICIA”, giving a southern rock tribute to my oldest sister Patricia, who served as trusted pack leader after the sudden & tragic passing of our mother when we were all very young children. Patricia was my 1st musical inspiration to sing & mentor me to grab onto life with gusto. So, “forever her songbird sings”

 

The second track is a swamp blues rocker identifying many of us who grew up in the ‘60’s & ‘70’s. We can relate with ourselves and/or personal friends’ experiences in “I WAS A STONER”. Even our few who may still reside in some altered present state will admit the magnitude of consumption pales to early times. “Cosmo John tremolo’d & he bent the reeds, I started chooglin’ on down towards New O’leans”

 

I recruited my Aussie pal EightBall Aitken particularly to play for us some pinky finger slide guitar on “THE SIDE OF THE ROAD”. A roadhouse rocker chocked full of open interpretations; giving cred to fast cars & faster women..and very loud guitars. EightBall hails from North Queensland, Austrailia & provides fresh vibes to our shared passion for Swamp Rock Blues. His Dobro on “HAUNTING AND HALLOWED” epitomizes all the creaking bones in our ghost house closets. He’s a master at open tuning. Also see “A RETURN OF FIRE” my tribute to the Delta Blues & its influence on British, & all that became rock & roll.

I was fortunate enough to hook Austin bass guitar virtuoso Glenn Fukunaga from his heavy booking demands to provide us with a very solid foundation for our rhythm section. Glenn is a super cool guy with a flawless sense of 4/4 rock timing, yet very capable to bend & slide to true pitch on a fretless bass as in “HERE WAS TO US”; a tune in which each of us can empathize with human companion loss…”So I raise my glass of empty, a toast to what it was. For the times we had together….Here was to us”.

Austin, Tx is the Live Music Capital of the World but has many fabulous recording studios partly in secret. I found & hired King Electric’s Justin Douglas. He uses vintage equipment & defers from solid state & computer software; & has a Master’s Degree in audio engineering from Berkley. He has hi-level stringmanship. He’s from Lafayette, La but grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and resided in Montreal, Can. so he’s globally cultured to the nth. He’s an efficient engineer, a trusted producer, and a true friend…

So I jumped behind the drum kit, gave it my best versions of four on the floor roadhouse rock. I brought in the aforementioned hand-picked guitar extraordinaires & it was a juke from the start; four vintage guys, playing on vintage gear, and recording in vintage analog. Our rhythms sounded like a rickety old machine, but should be able to hold together because I’d put reliable components in it; clunkin’ along… Every song is from take one, capturing its truest essence & raw human flawed emotions. We didn’t brainstorm a lot. Everyone was asked to make their own mark & own interpretations on it. We just laid it back, turned it up loud and had fun; but with a bit of an edge to it.

David Grissom (John Mellencamp, Dixie Chicks, Storyville, Joe Ely; others) was one of the first resident iconic rock star guitarists I met shortly after I moved to Austin almost a decade ago. David is a great guy, full of intrigue, and in top shelf world demand. I was lucky to have David contribute on this little project of ours & I’m awed by the powerhouse lead guitar tracks he delivered. I hope you are too. Just after we finished our final session, David was off to the airport to rush for a stage performance in Pittsburg with Joe Bonamassi… I said, “How cool is that”? David just shrugged, thanked me for the work & said with a smile “hey man, it’s what I do”… What a humble extremely talented human being…

I sincerely hope no one takes personal offense or misinterprets “WATERLOO REVIVAL” as being sacrilegious. I merely placed myself in modern day Austin, Tx (its original name was Waterloo), & reflected upon my childhood days in the deep south Church of God, Southern Baptist, and Pentecostal tent revivals’ renditions of their Glorifying music, pleading our Divine Spirit to basically “save us from ourselves”….So I penned how it may appear if both those worlds were to collide today.

“CATFISH WAY TOO FRIED” is a swamp blues about no particular guy; it’s about a couple dozen guys. We’ve all likely known some over the years who primarily aspired to “over-indulge, over-consume, & over do-it” at every level. They’ve been the topic of some most intriguing songs, books, movies, novels, ect. I’ve known my share and had a blast spending some time & enjoying life with them. “Every night he’d go out jukin’ lookin’ Brad Pitt handsome, time he made it home he’d resemble Charlie Manson”.

The penultimate track titled “THESE VISIONS” renders comparison in regard to lost civilizations of empire that once thrived, prospered, and set the world’s latest standards of their excellence; but perhaps left behind by even higher powers. How it seems in large part, each of those forgotten societies first lost their true identity, fought & decayed from the inside, altering their scope & literally wound up covered in dust while their arc trekked into the westward sky without them. It’s a ten minute exploration of transcendent voyage, fittingly carrying the title of this collection…. My bandmates & I had fun with this one. We went rouge & primal to leave this world to explore and ascertain how our own society is quite possibly on the cusp, and what should we really try to do about it, aside from Faith; except wormhole off this rock only to discover how genuinely sublime & perfect our lives may be on the other side. ”Disturbed & fazed by distorted facts; but well worth this trip for these visions we lack”.

A few common similarities that most philosophers shared in life…..They suffered early traumatic experiences, they spent large portions of their lives in solitude; thus connecting as one with the Divine Universal Spirit, revealing their true ideals and allowing their awareness to heighten…and tap into that energy & flow…. So, as an orphaned child, now an empty nester, who resided large portions of his life all alone in travel & in contact with The Divine Universal Holy Spirit, I document my mediocre versions of visions: “I write them with tears & I sing them with joy, connected to invisible threads of inaudible voice”…. “FOR THE RESTLESS, YEARNING, ACHING HEARTS” brings fitting closure to this album. Be it from heartbreak, rage, euphoria, frustration, anger, elatedness, anxiety, depression, rebellion, victory, or defeat; ALL of “THESE VISIONS” were written with love…. I do hope you find and hold on to love and affection; along with shared enjoyment in this music collection…

Lezzride!!…

S.E.R. May 2019