Wings Of Desire (Reissue)

Ruff Justice

Another look at the past.
March 23, 2024

One day in the 90’s, a drummer named Scott Baughn moved to Dallas, Texas and created a band that would later become RUFF JUSTICE. This is another chapter of the undiscovered bands from the past that I enjoy doing. Bands that you probably never heard of and that are trying to get some recognition in today's world by using the modern tools available and re-releasing their work, usually remastered,  from their youth years. RUFF JUSTICE started by selling bootlegs and limited copies of 200 cds in the 90’s  and now are getting their first compilation of early recordings and making a 16 song release with their work in an album named Wings Of desire. The album consists of their songs from the original release from 1993, plus 8 bonus tracks. Listening to the songs on this album you can feel that despite the “ruff” production of the time (that is still felt today), the guys had potential. Songs are typical from the hard rock played at that time with very fast solos by guitar player Mark Kinder and high pitch vocals.

I come to mind bands like SLAUGHTER or KEEL that to their merit, I can still remember their names. Good quality hard rock, with the same excesses of the era, however this band has an interesting backing vocals melody lines dueling with the main vocal line like in the song “Know Where To Run” that adds an extra sauce to their sound. But it seems that this was not enough to get their head above the crowded hard rock scene at the time. In every re-release however, you may find some interesting ideas buried deep in the songs that makes you wonder if only if the band had the correct support and guidance of a producer and eventually be able to record and release a better quality album with a record label, they may have had a bite in the apple. The majority of the songs miss that special hook unfortunately. They explore the genre with different tempo songs and arrangements that were used by almost every band at the time. Another thing I may point out in their work is the high register voice work on a lot of tracks. Not only for screams, the singer Jimmy Hooper actually sings a lot of bars in a very high register and this is quite impressive.

I do not remember many vocalists at the time that could do this. Listen to the tune “Give 'em Hell” and you feel KIND DIAMOND. Is like the tune Red Hot from MOTLEY CRUE  on its drum tempo, but with an actual singer. The album also has live recordings of the time of their album release as bonus tracks and the recording quality is not the best. Very tape recorder like. At least we can see that the vocalist has the pipes on live performances as well. They have a live version of the album title song “Wings Of Desire” that is worth checking out. By the way, they have a full bootleg live concert as bonus tracks on  this album and I like it. The song “Comin’ Home” is the best in my opinion despite the bad recording. And fuck California as the singer says before the tune starts.

I am actually liking the bootleg better than the album as you can see that RUFF JUSTICE is actually a good live band and you can feel the rawness and the energy that only a bootleg can offer. The bootleg part of the album also has tunes like “Sanctuary” that you cannot find in the original album recordings. The best tune of the album has changed. Now is “Mother Freedom” the live version. Great country hard rock. I believe this album is a  good effort from the band. Decent work from all members including bass player Johnny Exall that ended up playing in another Texan band TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION that reached a better success. Like it happens to every release like this one that I listen to, it makes me wonder what the band have missed, or should have done differently to register their names a little higher.

4 / 10

Nothing special








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"Wings Of Desire (Reissue)" Track-listing:

1.Just Us

2.Rock of Love

3.Fall in Line

4.Mother Freedom (Bread cover)

5.Know Where to Run

6.Can't Get Enough of You

7.Wings of Desire

8.Give 'em Hell

9. Wings Of Desire

10.Trouble in Paradise

11Comin’ Home

12.Can’t Get Enough Of You.




16.Hold The Fire

Ruff Justice Lineup:

Scott Baughn- Drums

Johnny Exall- Bass

Jimmy Hooper- Vocals

Mark Kinder- Guitars

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