Got an appetite for some Cajuní-flavored blues? Then by all means, get yourself down to the store and pick up some Live Crawfish. And when you get home, you can satisfy your hunger with a little "Cajun Roux" and "Redís Nuts." If that still doesnít do the trick, well, then, grab your plate, "Shout for More" and "Eat More Crawfish."
Big Al and the Heavyweights stir up some sure-fire crowd pleasers with their first live release; the bandís third CD and a definite contender for another Nammy nomination - if not an outright win.
From the first track to the last on this 13-song, 68 minute CD, the band shines. One of the many things that stands out on this compilation is the bandís diversity. From Cajuní inspired Louisiana boogie to straight-ahead blues, smokiní solos to tight, well-formed harmonies, slow indulgences in the low-down dirty to frenzied exclamations of joy, this rare blend of musical geniuses can do it all, and itís all well-done.
On some tracks, itís easy to pick out the influences - Chicago here, Texas or New Orleans or Dixieland there. But on others, itís more of challenge: a shake of Swamp Music is thrown in with a dash of Detroit and a slice of roots, and thereís something in the percussion or guitar or harmonica thatís vaguely familiar, but you just canít quite discern what flavor it is because it compliments the others so well.
The band - Albert J. "Big Al" Lauro Jr. on drums and background vocals; Tim Wagoner on lead vocals and guitar; George "Harmonica Red" Heard on vocals and mouth harp and Calvin Johnson on bass - traces its roots back to 1992's "The Unknown Blues Band." Lauro's Web site says he and then-lead guitar player Warren Haynes met while both were playing with a still-famous "country outlaw's" (David Allen Coe) band. Haynes went on to play with Dicky Betts and later, The Allman Brothers Band, and Lauro was forced to look for a new guitarist. Eventually, the lineup on this CD was cooked up.
The band has a had a few good breaks on the way, most notably in the form of Dan Akroyd's nationally syndicated "House of Blues" show and a performance on the Food Network's "Emril Live." But itís good music, not good luck, that keeps the Heavyweights in trim.
Thereís some marvelous scat - accompanied note for note by a wailing electric guitar - on "Cheatiní Blues"; some in-your-face harmonica work on "Redís Nuts"; and some hot guitar work on a tight, tasty version of "Bound By Love."
This is definitely a band thatís in its element live, and this album is almost as good as being pressed up against the stage. From the Louisiana-flavored opener "Cajun Roux" to the Chicago-styled closer "Honda Wanda," Crawfish is packed with incredibly good music. Another helping,
This review is copyright © 2000 by Patrick OíDonnell, 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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