The Grifter's Hymnal serves as the follow-up album to Ray Wylie Hubbard's 2010 release A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment. The Oklahoma-born Hubbard kept time with songwriters such as Waylon Jennings, Doug Sahm, Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker in Texas decades ago.
The opening song on The Grifter's Hymn--"Coricidin Bottle"--features Hubbard's son Lucas and guitarist Rick Richards for this electric firestorm. Ian McLagan plays piano on the sand burn number "South of the River". An acoustic slide guitar threads the story of "Lazarus" where Hubbard sings: "We're in the mud and slime of things..."
"New Year's Eve at the Gates of Hell" is a perfect testimony to Hubbard's poetic talent. Audley Freed lends his guitar expertise on this gasoline-fueled track. "Moss And Flowers" emerges as a tune slow as molasses and evocative as an opium-induced dream. Few songwriters can pen compositions like "The Red Badge of Courage"--a gritty country song dealing with the 21st century American soldier.
"Train Yard" counts as a carnal love tune by the railroad tracks. Ringo Starr wrote, sang and played drums on the ode to female anatomy titled "Coochy Coochy". "Mother Blues" paints a vivid autobiographical tune revolving around a mean Dallas nightclub over 45 years ago where a light-hearted ditty like "Henhouse" might be heard.
In "Count My Blessings", Hubbard sings: "I saw a black crow on the fence post/Singing away with Sam Hopkins' ghost". This song sounds like sunset blues at its finest...twilight descends and so do the spirits. The final track on The Grifter's Hymnal, "Ask God", speaks for itself. This is one of Hubbard's finest releases. Oklahoma writer Jim Thompson would be proud. Ray Wylie Hubbard is a rock & roll poet of the highest order...