“Close up the honky tonks,” they said.
“No!” came the answer.
And with that, Rich Hope went back to the country, live and delirious, a blue denim devil at the end of an arc stretching all the way from George Jones to the Sadies. Thus began the band unofficially known as His Blue Rich Rangers.
Scott Smith eagerly jumped on board—the hottest pedal steel man in the province, maybe the country, flanked by crisp, lanky Ben Laborie on rhythm guitar, Erik Nielsen injecting Rick Danko distillate on bass, and Hope’s faithful sticksman of 15 years Adrian Mack pulling up the rear.
The sound was funky, cosmic, and almost always on the right side of wild. Sets were long and boozy. Hope would throw a Freddie Fender or Waylon Jennings cover at his boys, they would knock it past the bleachers. Before long, the Rangers couldn’t stuff anymore bodies inside the tiny Main Street venue they called home, so they took to selling out bigger rooms, and then bigger ones.
And then they hit the studio. The 45 you hold in your hand—and if you don’t, fix that!—is the Hope-Smith original, “Can’t Get No Lovin’”; a heartbreaker shaped to fit the dimensions of Otis Redding by way of the Burrito Brothers, spiked by horns by way of Vancouver by way of Memphis. The flip side is a song that the Rangers made their own after a hundred sweaty nights, the Doug Sahm-penned roller-rink feelgood hit of your life, “Dynamite Woman.”
There will be more to come, you can count on that, as sure as the Groovies flamed and the Byrds discovered the fifth dimension in shuffle time. By the end of this trip, there’ll be nobody feeling any pain at closing time.
And they’re good lookin’, too.
from Can't Get No Lovin'
track released July 13, 2013
Written by R. Hope/S. Smith copyright 2013 SOCAN. Produced by Mr. Erik P.H. Nielsen at Afterlife Studios, Vancouver, BC.
all rights reserved