Pop the champagne: Ruf Records is 20. A lot has changed in rock ‘n’ roll since 1994. We’ve seen a thousand bands rise and fall. We’ve watched a hundred rock scenes blow up and burn out. All the while, Ruf has steadily evolved, from its roots as one man’s vision, to the most respected blues/rock label around, with a roll-call of talent to top any independent on the planet.
Of course, Thomas Ruf didn’t expect any of those accolades back in 1994. Back then, Ruf’s charismatic founder and leader created the label simply to give the legendary Chicago bandleader Luther Allison a platform to release some of the best albums of his career. Tragically, Luther himself was lost to cancer in 1997, but Ruf Records never missed a beat, continuing to develop some of the brightest talent in America, Britain, Europe and beyond, while always retaining its fearsomely independent spirit.
Walter Trout. Royal Southern Brotherhood. Joanne Shaw Taylor. Spin Doctors. Jeff Healey. Savoy Brown. Dana Fuchs. Laurence Jones. Samantha Fish. To anyone with even a passing interest in quality blues, the Ruf roster since 1994 reads like a hall of fame, taking in legends, supergroups and bright young talents.