Tab Benoit
@ The Cabooze, January 23, 1997

When Tab Benoit comes to town, there is a regular pilgrimage straight to his performance. He has developed a strong local fan base that continues to grow with each appearance. I first saw Tab in the summer of 1995 at the Minnesota Zoo amphitheater and was very impressed with his great guitar playing and spirited singing. So I knew what to expect when I saw him recently at the Cabooze. I was surprised however. None of his shows are the same...he may sing many of the same songs, but he is a master showman and improvises on stage depending upon his feel for the audience. Some performers have that natural ability to develop rapport the moment they take the stage and Tab is one of them.

"I'm ready for some blues" he said as he took the stage. "This cold weather has got me down" he continued with a big smile on his face, as he launched into the song Nice & Warm (from his 1992 debut album of the same name). He followed with Muddy Water's Long Distance Call. Tab also had a great extended solo on Albert King's recording of Laundromat Blues (from his Standing on the Bank album). There was a nice medley of Jambalaya and Iko Iko -- some good ol' swamp blues which displayed his Louisiana roots.

Near the end of his show he did some nice solo country blues ala Lightnin' Hopkins and Lightnin' Slim. During his first or second song he broke a guitar string but kept right on playing. This happened again a few songs later and turned out to be a regular occurrence that night. I think he broke a string about every other song. He just took this in stride with a good natured smile and friendly attitude. It's no wonder he has such loyal fans...he reaches right out and touches you with his down home friendliness and superb guitar playing. He will be back in June and I'll be there too.

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Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
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