Just Listen to This - Survivor Blues Review

https://justlistentothis.co.uk/reviews/walter-trout-survivor-blues/

 

Using an album title suggested by Marie Trout, wife of Walter through some grim times and now this more pastoral and pleasingly creative period, this release gives fans something different. Though it’s an album of versions – I dislike the term ‘covers’ – of the compositions of others, Trout has wisely gone for tunes that have not been done to death. He thinks they are songs worth hearing and they certainly seem to fire up his band.

 

 

 

Off we go with Me My Guitar And The Blues coasting into classic slow blues and Jimmy Dawkins’ stark vista of a lyric. The soft Hammond and pastoral piano conjure up wet city streets at midnight as Walter’s Strat cruises the scene. His trademark volume knob tweaking wrings the passion out of the sad motifs.

Sunnyland Slim’s bouncy Be Careful How You Vote is given the full Elmore James treatment, plus harmonica in the ensemble and pretty rousing it is, too. Pure coincidence, but I’ve been doing Please Set A Date, lately, similar arrangement. Woman Don’t Lie calls in the great Sugaray Rayford on the Luther Johnson tune and here sounds stabbing and potent, the lyric accusatory and the guys sharing the vocal. Somehow it puts me in mind of an energised Albert King. Sadie is a Hound Dog Taylor workout taken at an easy-rolling pace with band holding back. The guitar is less busy than one might expect, Trout relishing the tempo.

 

Please Love Me is a fluid B B style foot-tapper. Nature’s Disappearing is a very familiar tune to me, as it comes from Mayall’s album USA-Union which featured my man Harvey Mandel and a lineup with initially no drummer, until Paul Lagos was added for touring. Here, it is performed straight and clear and the environmental message is intact, likely this is the best cut on this set. Red Sun gets a rock solid reading, tom toms to the fore.

 

Something Inside Of Me heads back to relaxed territory and the old Bloody Murder chord cadence. It Takes Time comes of course from the recently departed Otis Rush whilst a speedy approach lifts the band through Out Of Bad Luck. Goin’ Down To The River adds Robbie Krieger of The Doors, a guitar man who has always fascinated me by his adoption of saxophone riffs, right from Light My Fire. Finally, God’s Word gets an easy-going run-through.

 

A good addition to the Trout canon.

 

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