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The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots|
Beale Street to the Bayou
(Wild Roots Records - CD2009)
Review Date: Nov 2009
by Gordon Baxter
"Beale Street to the Bayou" is Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots' debut album, although Wainwright did release his own CD back in 2005, aided and abetted by current bassist Stephen Dees. Along with Greg Gumpel (guitars) and Brain Kelly (drums) they create a sound that is true to the album's title.
Things get off to an auspicious start with "Mighty Man" which opens in a jazzy style, before rocking along with Wainwright showing what a good voice he has. The band then get very funky on "Planet Earth" (think Meters meet the Radiators) before taking things down home on "Sold Down River" and the excellent rolling blues of "Long Way To Go". They also get soulful on the ballad "Blues in the Rain".
The album's best moments come when the band get funky, such as "What You Want", and the excellent James Brown tribute "WildRoot Jam", although there are not really any bad moments. All the tracks are band originals too, with the exception of a straight retread of "What'd I Say".
"Beale Street to the Bayou" marks a very good start to the career of Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots. All the band play their part in contributing to a vibrant, entertaining album that comfortably straddles blues, funk, rock and jazz. It will be a hard act to follow.
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