Vintage Vinyl — February 11, 2014 at 9:55 am

Vintage Vinyl – Ray Griff

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Vancouver-born Ray Griff has had a very successful career as a songwriter, having penned hits for country artists including but not limited to Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Porter Wagoner and Faron Young, but he’s made a pretty good go of it as a recording artist, too. He had his first taste of success in the late ’60s with a cover of Clarence Carter’s “Patches” and went on to rack up eight top 40 hits with Capitol throughout the ’70s. In 1989 he was elected to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and in 2008 he received a lifetime achievement award from SOCAN. Unfortunately, the last couple of years have seen him battling health problems that have forced him to curtail his live performances.

Ray’s Bar and Grill is an LP’s worth of instrumentals recorded early in Griff’s career, some of which went unreleased until this compilation was put out by MORning Records in 1977. The capitalized letters are a tipoff; most MORning’s releases were distinctly Middle Of the Road, and most of this album definitely leans toward country’s easy-listening side. But the last track, “All Night Cafe,” is a short-but-sweet rollicking country/r&b stomper that sounds like it’s being bashed out in a smoke-filled honky tonk.

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