Reviews - The Blues Came Callin'
CD, CD/DVD, LP
and Rescued from Reality, Book
Rocktopia Review of Rescued from Reality
September, 2014 Source: www.rocktopia.co.uk
Powerplay Magazine Review of Rescued from Reality
Classic Rock Magazine
The Blues Came Callin' - The Blues Magazine
The Blues Came Callin' - Rock Society Magazine
Rescued from Reality
- Guitar & Bass Magazine
The Blues Came Callin' - Uncut Magazine
Rescued From Reality - Sunday Herald - Scotland
June 22, 2014
The Blues Came Callin' - Blues In Britain Magazine
The Blues Came Callin' - Herald Newspaper (Scotland)
June 04, 2014
The Blues Came Callin' - Blues & Soul Magazine
June 17, 2014
The Blues Came Callin' - Pick of the Month
June 08, 2014
The Blues Came Callin' is on the Pick Of The Month on 31 DJs UK Blues internet shows www.bluesbroadcasters.co.uk
Rescued From Reality - Book Review
June 08, 2014
- Posted by Alan Harrison on June 8, 2014 at 7:00am
The whole unmitigated story of sex and drugs and booze and Rock and Roll
Ask the average Rock fan who Walter Trout is and the vast majority will probably say “Didn’t he used to play with John Mayall?” Or possibly “Didn’t he used be in Canned Heat?” Both answers are correct, but after releasing something like 20 albums under his own name since leaving the latter band the genre-defining guitarist has a story to tell; and boy is it worth reading.
Trout tells his story in an honest ‘matter of fact’ style; not unlike his song-writing. He appears to have had an idyllic childhood in Ocean City with his father instilling in him a love of reading and learning and his mother taking him to see Ray Charles and James Brown in Atlantic City and Richard Burton in Hamlet in New York. It was also his mother who instigated a meeting with Duke Ellington which was to prove a life changing moment for the aspirant teenage trumpet player. Following his parents acrimonious divorce and his mothers subsequent re-marriage to a man with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Trout turned to drink and drugs as a means of coping around the same time he discovered Rock and Roll in the shape and sound of Paul Butterfield and Bob Dylan.
The book then gets into a groove with stories of an itinerant life as a struggling musician; driving hundreds of miles not knowing if there would be a gig at the end of the journey or if there was, would he get paid? All the while learning his trade and earning accolades but very little else.
One story ends with Walter and a buddy playing a festival in the backside of nowhere and having to sleep in a dog pound while he earned enough money collecting litter to pay for the journey home.
Perhaps my favourite story concerns his friend in a band called Steel Mill; who also played on the New Jersey circuit. Trout advises the guy to give up the guitar and stick to singing and song-writing; the friend was Bruce Springsteen! In many other biographies this would have been a whole chapter; but it’s very nearly thrown away in three paragraphs.
I learned new things about the guitarist on nearly every page; who knew he played in John Lee Hookers band or Big Mama Thornton’s? His relationship with both is described in self-depreciating honesty and the part about Big Mama’s dentures had me laughing out loud.
The happiest years of Trout’s early career was when he was a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with the artist’s admiration for each other shining through every line; and his time with Canned Heat would have been hilarious if it was a movie; but it wasn’t but should be.
Walter obviously loves his life and has very few; if any regrets but a thread that weaves through the middle of his book is his frustration at being successful in Europe but can’t get a gig under his own mane in his homeland. This changes towards the end; but there is still a slight bitterness in his words about his treatment in America.
Music fans often place their heroes on pedestals and presume they all live in mansions or super cool ‘cribs’ by the beach, but the reality is guys like Walter Trout give everything they have and more on tour, then pawn their guitars to pay the rent when they arrive home.
After a lifetime of horrendous management deals and addictions that would have defeated the majority of people, since the millennium and under the guidance of his wife Marie and his friends at Provogue Records Trout has released a bunch of albums that have not only made him some money but also won plaudits and awards for his song-writing and fearsome guitar playing all around the world; and with a wonderful tribute album to Luther Allison under his belt which followed on from his most successful record to date; Blues For the Modern Daze and Trout’s 25th Anniversary in the Music business just around the corner, his record company decided now was the time for him to write his biography. But fate played its cruel hand one more time and in June 2013, while on tour in Germany he woke up in terrible pain to find his body bloated and filled with fluid.
He had a disease that had caused a cirrhosis of his liver. A transplant was the only option; but he had neither the cash nor insurance to cover such treatment and a Social Media campaign was launched. Walter had no idea what the outcome would be; so carried on touring and threw himself into chronicling his life with Rock journalist Henry Yates.
While waiting for the fund to materialise and instead of sitting around feeling sorry for himself Trout began writing songs for one more; and possibly his last album, Blues Came Calling. The album was subsequently scheduled for release as Trout’s fan base, including numerous members of the Blues community rallied around in an unprecedented way and the target figure was easily surpassed and the operation scheduled.
The book ends there; but, and this isn’t a spoiler Walter Trout’s liver transplant was a success and he’s currently recuperating and actually planning on touring to promote the album and the book, later this year.
What a guy and what a story.
DVD Review - Enthralling and Tearful - 10/10
June 06, 2014
There is no better treat for me on a Friday or Saturday night if not at a gig than to cook myself a nice meal and sit and watch one of my many music DVDs. Tonight has been one of those nights thus far.
Earlier I sat back flicked on the TV and DVD and on went the Hi-Fi and in to the slot went the above film, The Walter Trout story, part of the Deluxe Edition of the new album.
I have just emerged with damp eyes, emotional but elated because Walter truly is every bit the man I know him to be.
The film is enthralling but at times not an easy watch, especially to see his emaciated features and body, clearly shot when the disease had gripped Walter like a vice. Also to learn of the childhood at the hands of a violent drunken father but there is not a trace of hate or resentment in Walter, just the evidence that experience was where he got the fire in his belly to play The Blues.
The film plots Walter's journey from joining Canned Heat to becoming a Bluesbreaker and a glorious 25 years as a solo artist. The movie is interspersed with wonderful footage from his past and studio clips of the recording of the new album. Whatever and wherever the music comes from it is 100% Trout.
Witness the essence of the man and his humility as he talks to a group of High School kids, in awe by the way, about the dangers of a life in a band on the road. Watch too as he plays with the kids urging them to display their talents. Exactly as he has done in the UK with our own Laurence LJ, Danny Bryant and Mitch Laddie. In this part of the footage his son and a friend quote a wonderful acronym: WWWD. No not a web page, a question to ask when a barrier confronts, simply: What Would Walter Do? Brilliant, answer that correctly and anything is possible.
Marie Trout please have that printed on T Shirts and sell it to the world to raise more funds for the fundraiser. I am first in the queue.
No film would be complete without glimpses of the love Walter and Marie have for each other, so touching as the Blues Man reveals the love at first sight meeting. This is true devotion, not mere love.
Threaded through the movie is this great man's sense of humanity, his humility and his unique talent. Put that together, you have a wonderful man and a wonderful movie!
First the album - 10 from 10
Then the film - 10 from 10
And now just the book Back From Reality to go, another 10 from 10 I know.
The Blues Came Callin' all Walter could do was answer. Thank God!
Nigel Foster https://www.facebook.com/nigel.foster.165?fref=nf
Rescued From Reality - Book Review
June 06, 2014
‘Rescued From Reality’ is significantly subtitled ‘The Life And Times Of Walter Trout’. Compared to most anodyne biographies, Trout’s story is the real deal. It includes a very uncompromising account of rock & roll excess on the breadline rather than rollers in the pool.
It’s a classic story of what author Henry Yates calls: “Industrial strength hell raising.” There are tales of escaping the draft, acid trips in a gorilla suit, biker drug gangs, dripping dentures, nights in a dog kennel, homelessness, death threats, rip offs, wild women, rivers of drink and a constant fight to kick-start a musical career. Walter eventually finds redemption in sobriety and a hard earned solo career that is suddenly sidelined by a liver problem, which provides an unexpected and unwelcome reminder of his partying days.
The book title reflects a story that is at times as harrowing as it is comical and surreal. When you sift through all the highs and lows of a career spent as a go-to LA sideman, a guitar slinger in Canned Heat and a wild but valued member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, you find the tale of a young man with a passion for music and a dazzling ability to match, but who is sidelined by life itself. Even in his darkest moments, you suspect it was his musical ability that subconsciously sustained him and years later helped him to cope with his recent health problems.
Author Henry Yates, punctuates Walter’s chronological story with song titled chapter headings, which coherently summarize Trout’s story. Thus ‘Transition’ covers his early gigging years with Wilmont Mews and his move to Southern California, while ‘Outta Control’ is an apt description of his time with Canned Heat and ‘To Begin Again’ marks the end of his drinking and drug addiction. The author also refreshingly let’s Walter find his own voice to tell his own story, while adding his own snippets of research and contextualized comments to help the flow of anecdotes.
Apart from being a disarmingly honest interviewee, Trout is a naturally funny and self effacing guy, who almost looks back on his own past in bewilderment, apart from the time when his late bass player and lifetime friend Jimmy Trapp saved him from returning to the bottle.
The book weaves its way in and out of Trout’s musical CV, though there is no discernible career as such, until he inadvertently becomes a sideman. An unlikely meeting with Duke Ellington as a wide eyed ten year old is pivotal and years later led him to becoming a mentor to a new generation of blues rockers.
There’s an account of his first band, his move to the West coast, his years spent playing with the old blues fraternity – including Deacon Jones, Big Mamma Thornton and John Lee Hooker – a hard lived 4 year existence with Canned Heat and 5 years of mayhem and occasional brilliance with John Mayall.
‘Rescued From Reality’ is not the stuff of blowing up hotel rooms, while the sex, drugs and rock & roll is not so much gratuitous as just brutally honest. It’s a personalized account of surviving hard times and making sense of some incidents that Hollywood films might reject as being too far fetched.
If you had never heard of Walter Trout before picking up this book you’d still be drawn into his story by his wide eyed recollections. Despite the slide into dealing, addiction and becoming an out of control touring musician, there’s always a redeeming consistent thread, which is that Walter was always a great musician. And while ‘Rescued From Reality’ isn’t big on analysis, the author does give us his own psychological insight into his subject early on: “It’s not too glib to suggest that as the good old days turned bad, and daily life began to crumble, Walter was simultaneously born as an artist and bluesman.”
Years later when plagued by blues purists, Walter early career insecurities seem to have been replaced by a self evident maturity based on self belief: “You can be an artist who is secure in their vision, and just plough through the bullshit, or you can let yourself be intimidated by it.”
And there you have it. ‘Rescued From Reality’ is an enjoyable and insightful account of a unique blues-rocker with an interesting past. What it lacks is the beef about the touring years and Walter’s guitar battles with Coco Montoya in The Bluesbreakers. There’s also little about his intense playing style and high octane shows, save for a cursory mention of sparking a potential riot while playing ‘Long Tall Sally’ in Denmark and Marie Trout’s refection on the intensity of his playing in the early days.
The upside is that it’s a beautifully illustrated and well written book. The luminosity of Trout’s life story wraps itself round the striking photos and immerses you just like his guitar solos. Once you’ve picked it up you won’t put it down. ****
Review by Pete Feenstra http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/posts/
Guitar & Bass
June 06, 2014
June 06, 2014
June 06, 2014
Last out of the traps today, is the latest album from blues rock elder statesman Walter Trout. Something that surprises the likes of me, who remember him as a Bluesbreaker. Of course, this album is overshadowed by his health problems, which have seen him undergo a liver transport this year, after a wee while chapping on the reapers door.
But you wouldn’t know it from the music, which is straight down the middle Trout. For sure, there are some lyrics which seem to nod to his personal problems, but he knows how to pen a muscular blues rock tune, and there are plenty of them here. The first and last songs are the most open, with the self expanatory ‘Wastin’ Away’ and the closing ‘Nobody Moves Me Like You Do’, which must be for Marie Trout.
In between there are some excellent songs and performances with ‘The ‘Bottom Of The River’ having his best guitar work, some John Mayall provided piano on ‘Take A Little Time’, and some fabulous boogie on ‘Willie’. His old boss appears on the instrumental, cunningly entitled ‘Mayall’s Piano Boogie’, as well as adding organ on the title track, but this is very much the Walter Trout show, and as good as anything he’s recorded.
Blues Matters Magazine
June 01, 2014
May 30, 2014
The Blues Magazine
May 24, 2014
Walter Trout: The Blues Came Callin'
May 09, 2014
By Andy Snipper on www.music-news.com
This is a bittersweet review because as I write it Walter Trout is lying in hospital waiting for a new liver while the Blues world he has touched and mentored for the last 25 years are holding benefits for him and praying for him to pull through. Trout has been one of the most electric and larger than life characters on the Blues circuit for years – from his days with John Mayall and through 25 years as a solo artist and he has made more of the music that I listen to every day than any other artist than I can think of. Meeting him after a gig at London’s Astoria 2 a few years ago remains one of my treasured memories.
Amazingly this is actually a superb piece of kick-ass Blues Rock – he may be dyin’ but there’s life in him yet!
The album was recorded through 2013 and the beginning of 2014 and the subject matter clearly touches on his awareness of his condition from the opener ‘Wastin’ Away’ and on. 10 tracks are Walter Trout originals and one was written for him by John Mayall as well as a cover of J.B. Lenoir’s ‘The Whale’.
Enough preamble – is this worth investing money on? Remarkably YES! The vocal may not have the buffalo bellow of old but his guitar is still red hot and he rocks like a demon on numbers like ‘Take A Little Time’ while ‘The Bottom Of The River’ is dark and moody and features Trout on a Resonator telling of a man drowning and seeing all the good things in his life pulling him back from the dead.
‘Wastin’ Away’ is a bellow of defiance – even though his body is failing him he will not go quietly of easily.
One of my personal favourites is ‘Willie’ – a stormer in the grand tradition of Walter Trout with rolling Hammond and stomping rhythm alongside a howling harp that leads into ‘Mayall’s Piano Boogie’, a one take jam around John Mayall playing boogie piano live in the studio.
It would be so easy to be maudlin and depressed about this album – the one that was supposed to be a celebration of 25 years as a solo performer – but I can’t. The music is great and the emotive content massive. This is an album by a man who will fight to the very end and who will see the friends and artists he has grown standing up and cheering for him.
"To play my music for people has become even more important to me. When I think about looking out into the crowds of people and connecting with everyone on a soul level, and sharing the experience of music with them, this is what keeps me fighting to get back: My family and my music is my lifeline. These days, it means more to me than ever before."
I can’t pretend to review this impartially because Trout has been music that I’ve loved for years but this album really will be one that I go back to time and again because it is simply excellent.
Walter Trout: The Blues Came Callin'
May 09, 2014
UK RELEASE DATE 02.06.2014
2014 should have been a grand celebration of Walter Trout’s 25th year as a solo artist. Instead Walter Trout has come down with a liver disease that has caused him to spend his time in the hospital waiting for a liver transplant instead of celebrating. Recorded over the last year, The Blues Came Callin’ is a collection of 12 songs that collects Walter’s thoughts about mortality and life.
“Wastin’ Away” opens the album with his typical muscular blues rock punch and squarely deals with Walter’s illness. He’s not going to give up even though he’s lost over 100 pounds due to his liver problem. Things don’t slow down from there as he transitions into the rocking political statement of “The World is Goin’ Crazy (And so Am I).” “The Bottom of the River” starts with a dobro line and a theme about a drowning man who comes to the realization that it’s not time to die and that he needs to fight for the surface. Pertinent subject matter considering what Walter has been through lately.
“Take a Little Time” is a ’50s style Chuck Berry sound. Things pick up again with “Willie,” which is a contemptuous indictment about management in the music business. On “Born in The City” Walter again lets the guitar step forward and do most of the rocking. “Tight Shoes” is an instrumental in the style of Freddie King.
For a while, Walter used to tour in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and he was a big influence on Walter. John is who turned him on to the late great Chicago bluesman J.B. Lenoir. “The Whale” is an updated cover of one of Lenoir’s lesser known tracks and is intended as a tribute to Mayall. Mayall also guests on the album and is quite evident on two tracks in particular. John lends his organ skills on the traditional blues title track “The Blues Came Callin’” and his playing clearly starts out “ Mayall’s Piano Boogie.”
The album closes out with “Nobody Moves Me Like You Do,” a track written for his wife. Walter describes it as his gift to her. Trout offers, “To play my music for people has become even more important to me. When I think about looking out into the crowds of people and connecting with everyone on a soul level, and sharing the experience of music with them, this is what keeps me fighting to get back: My family and my music is my lifeline. These days, it means more to me than ever before.”
Let’s hope that he gets through this hard time and returns to entertaining us all for a long time to come. You can still help Walter achieve that comeback by visiting http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/walter-trout-needs-a-new-liver-you-can-help-/151911
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Nobody Moves Me Like You Do
- Wastin’ Away
- The Blues Came Callin’
- Born In The City
The Big Hit
- Nobody Moves Me Like You Do
Review by Kevin O’Rourke
Walter Trout: The Blues Came Callin'
April 21, 2014
UK RELEASE DATE 02.06.2014
I said when I reviewed his last album, the tribute to Luther Allison, it was probably the best thing he’d done thus far. Well, he’s gone and done it again with his latest - a triumph - the most personal set of songs he has ever penned.
This is not just any old release. No. When this album hits the stores on 2nd June, instead of celebrating his 25th year as a solo artist by strapping that guitar to his chest and doing his thing, Walter may well have had a life saving liver transplant by then. The man has been very, very poorly indeed. Medics in the US told him if he did not get a new liver within 90 days he would die. OMG.
Fighter Walter is still with us and was well enough to go home and await the transplant. But gigs and work will have to wait until well after the op and he is fully fit again. The British, European and US blues communities have rallied round and raised thousands of dollars to help pay for the op and associated health care costs. It has been heart-warming to see and note how loved he is.
Over to Walter’s wife Marie: "For five years, Walter, Provogue Records, and I have worked towards making Walter’s 25th year as a solo artist a special celebratory event. But the festivities will have to wait! Walter is urgently in need of a liver transplant. It has been heart-breaking for me to watch Walter struggle through these past many months, as we tried various treatment options provided by Walter’s doctors and liver specialists.
"One by one the treatments failed. Yet through it all, Walter’s courage and determination continually amazed me. Even as he became a shadow of his former self, after losing 100 pounds and much of his strength, he continued touring, writing, playing, singing, and recording. Music and playing for people offered Walter what it always has: It is therapy and a life-line for him when the blues comes callin’. Thus the theme of this album is coloured by his confrontation with mortality combined with a deep, all-abiding desire to persevere, and a good dose of typical Walter’esque life-affirming defiance!"
Provogue records boss Ed van Zijl: "When Walter re-joined Provogue in 2008 we talked about a plan leading up to the 25th anniversary of his career as a solo artist which is this year, 2014. Besides a brand new album we also made a book and a documentary.
"Not only to make people aware of the 25th anniversary but also to have people realize just how good and how important an artist Walter is for the blues rock genre worldwide. A phenomenal guitar player and an even greater person. Always speaking from the heart and always in for a good joke.
"The touring set up for 2014 was fantastic with shows at the prestigious North Sea Jazz festival and the Carre theatre in Amsterdam amongst many other great ones. Instead of being out there on the road giving his usual all to his many fans night after night, Walter is fighting for his life and there is nothing to celebrate at this moment. This is so very, very sad and we all are praying for Walter to come out on top. The album will be released June 2nd as planned as Walter definitely wants this one to be heard. In the meantime our hearts are with Walter and his family."
2014 marks the year Walter Trout looks back at an almost 50-year commitment to playing and singing the blues. "The Blues Came Callin" will be released worldwide on Monday June 2. The songs on the album reflect Walter’s thoughts about mortality and his renewed appreciation for being alive.
As he became physically weaker, he fought to continue touring, and found that playing for people was powerful medicine. Like the title of the new studio album, the blues definitely came callin’ for Walter. It kept him fighting, and in the process, it made him more determined than ever. Walter says: "To play my music for people has become even more important to me. When I think about looking out into the crowds of people and connecting with everyone on a soul level, and sharing the experience of music with them, this is what keeps me fighting to get back: My family and my music is my lifeline. These days, it means more to me than ever before."
Recorded throughout 2013 and early 2014, the new album features 12 new songs of which 10 are originals. One is written by his old boss John Mayall for the occasion, one is a J.B. Lenoir cover. Walter searches his soul on this album and lays it bare allowing new appreciation for life. The blues comes full circle; both as a reflective statement about his life and career, and as an all-penetrating desire to get back on stage and do what he loves most.
Instead of my usual review style, I will let Walter give you his own track by track guide. But take it from me; this is an essential addition to any discerning record collection. If you are a blues fan and you don't get this, then maybe you are NOT a real blues fan! Simples.
"The Bottom Of The River"
It is a figurative expression, a metaphor, of what I have been going through recently. It tells the story of a man who is pulled and held on the bottom of a river by the current. He realizes that he is about to drown; it seems like too much of a fight to get back up to the surface. Then in an instant he has a deep understanding – and he hears his inner voice tell him that it is not his time to die. He looks within, fights the current with all he’s got, and makes it up to the surface for that life-giving breath. At that moment he notices the beauty of the world which he had always previously taken for granted. He realizes that he is now a man who is forever changed.
"The Blues Came Callin’ "
This is the title track, and features my friend and mentor, John Mayall on Hammond B3 organ. In a traditional blues format it tells the story of a man lying in bed who is suddenly gripped tightly by the blues. The blues comes in through his window, holds on to the man and will not let him free. All night long it says to him: "You’ll never be the man you used to be." We can sometimes be our own worst fear-mongers – this is what this song is about.
You will hear in this track that even if my body is wasting away. I am defiant about it. I will not go gentle into that good night!
"Take A Little Time"
I’ve done many Chuck Berry’esque songs over my recording career, but this one probably comes closest to having an authentic Chess Records feel. It’s inspired by the breakneck pace that everyone I know seems to be living their lives at these days. If you are unfulfilled and looking for love, you’re going to need to take a little time out from the rat race and take care of your own heart.
This is a Freddie King’esque guitar instrumental piece. The title comes from my father, Ed Trout, Sr. When I was a kid, he took the family out to dinner at a swanky restaurant in Atlantic City. It was very quiet and sombre.As he got up to leave, he inadvertently cut loose with a massive, thunderous, earth-shaking fart. The whole place stopped and looked at him in horror. He just turned to the room, looked at everybody there, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Tight shoes." His humour and sense of confidence has left a lasting impression on me.
This song was written by the great Mr. J.B. Lenoir. John Mayall turned me on to Mr. Lenoir’s music many years ago. This is my tribute to JB and also to Mr. Mayall.
This song is about the many times I have been ripped off by many different people in the music business in my past. I chose the name because it sings well. But it is about the experience of trusting somebody to handle your business affairs, and then having them steal from you and exploit their position.
It’s a funky song that compares your lover leaving you to doing hard time in solitary. But this solitary is all in your mind and in your heart; an invisible psychological cage.
"Mayall’s Piano Boogie"
When John Mayall came in the studio, I asked him to play some old style boogie woogie piano. He began playing, Eric Corne pushed "record," the rest of us quietly walked in the studio and joined in. It’s a spontaneous, one-take, no-rehearsal jam.
"Born In The City "
I spent a good part of my youth wandering in the city of Philadelphia, and I grew to love being in big energetic, bustling cities. Never did feel like living the life of a country gentleman!
"The World Is Goin’ Crazy(And So Am I)"
A blues-rocker which basically says: If I take a long look around, sometimes I feel like I’m just gonna completely lose my mind at the state of the world.
"Nobody Moves Me Like You Do"
This song is written specifically for my beloved wife, Marie. It is my gift to her. It sums up my feelings for her.
The award of 10/10 for this record in no way reflects Walter’s ill health. It is not a charity vote. It is warranted. A 21st century blues album from a genuinely honest, caring, compassionate man who is a frigging awesome guitar player and singer to boot. Those years of hard living have taken their toll on his body, but it ain't stopped him yet. Long may that be the case. See you soon WT, back on stage where you belong.
• Visit Walter's fan-organised fundraising page: www.youcaring.com and please donate. $202,720 of a $250,000 total had been raised by friends and fans, at the time writing this review. Various benefit gigs had been organised in UK, Norway and USA too - a big one at London’s 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 4th May.
WORDS SIMON REDLEY
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