Walter Trout's ability to play frenetic guitar breaks made him a sought after sideman for John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, John Mayall and Canned Heat. This resulted in a mass European following. Now, the Southern California resident is finally starting to get recognition in his native U.S.. He regularly is on the bill at the nation's largest blues festivals. His smoldering and stunning set at the 2000 Tampa Bay Blues Festival was recorded live for this CD. Based on the exhilarating performance, you would not know that he spent the 24 hours prior to his appearance in transit dealing with missed flights, food and sleep!
He takes the stage by torrential storm on the first track, "I Can Tell", and cranks it for over 6 minutes. Thus setting the pace for the 12 song, 90 minute double disc that is packed full of high-energy, electrifying blues-rock featuring extended guitar jams. His vocals are gritty and scratchy but his solos grab you, shake you and take you on a ride that last longer than you dreamed possible. By consistently maintaining a sensational energy level throughout the CD, Trout achieves what many do not. His strong songwriting skills are highlighted by the inclusion of 80% original music. "Let Me Know" is a catchy, pop rocker that should be receiving plenty of airplay. A slow, heavy jam features on "The Reason I'm Gone" where Trout neglects to blast his usual plethora of notes. However, the ones he chooses to play are dramatic and effective. Things culminate at the song's finale with some wild, out of control, rock and roll jamming.
"Come Home" is a blues rockin' shuffle with B3 organ work from Paul Kallestad that kills. Without a doubt, the bluesiest number is "Finally Gotten Over You" with its 12 bars and stereotypical lyrics. Here, the words are not delivered strongly by Trout so he puts all his energy into his scorching guitar solo. Heavy rock with a kickin' complement of power guitar chording and hefty organ keying is heard on 'Gotta Broken Heart". Ironically, one of the most emotional, heart-felt tracks is not his own but rather Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released". Trout introduces "Good Enough To Eat" as rock and roll and it sure is. It is a loud and proud pounder which is perfect as the chosen encore.
Walter Trout has been shunned by the blues crowd because he plays too much rock. Similarly, he has been bypassed by the rock crowd because he plays too much blues. For the rockers delight, there isn't much blues to be found on this blistering live set. Trout himself proclaims, "I don't think you'll see a more harder rocking band than my band live." Jim Gaines has produced a raw, live heavy sound with a thumping bass drum. Art Tipaldi delivers excellent liner notes even if he uses them as an advertisement for his October 2000 Blues Revue cover story on Trout. If you enjoy heavy music delivered with wailing guitar solos that result in seismic shifts, this one is for you.
For CDs contact: Ruf America, Kenilworth, NJ, Ira Leslie (908) 653-9700; for publicity contact Brian Yaeger (323) 852-9444 Website: www.rufrecords.de Band website: www.waltertroutband.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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