The latest offering from the
master of swamp blues,
Tab Benoit, is here and it’s called
(Telarc). It’s mostly, but not exclusively, typical
Tab Benoit, which isn’t a criticism; it’s what his
fans and followers want and expect.
The album opens with the title
track, “Medicine,” a slow driving blues with some
heavy guitar work laid over an insistent drum beat,
that sets the scene for another good CD.
Track two, “Sunrise,” is a
surprise. It slows way down and is very soul based,
showing a side of Tab Benoit that doesn’t come to
the front very often. It has to be said that he has
as good a soul voice as he does a blues voice.
Strangely, track three is called “A Whole lot Of
Soul,” but it’s pure good swamp blues and it’s a very, very good track.
The tempo picks up substantially with “Come and Get It,” a quick-paced
rocking blues, and it keeps going with “Broke and Lonely,” which is good
Louisiana blues of the type associated with Benoit of old.
“Long Lonely Bayou” is a moody, slow, swamp blues
with guitar and excellent fiddle. It’s a song about a lost love and is
full of atmospheric lyrics and music.
Track seven, “In It To Win It," lifts the tempo up
to the mid-range, and combines a rocking beat with good swamp music all
about a boy growing up in the countryside, and the tempo lifts a little
bit more with the next track, “Can’t You See.” The fiddle comes back in
on this country blues, and Benoit puts me in mind of early Van Morrison
at times on this track.
“Nothing Takes The Place Of You” is a country
ballad about a man taking his woman’s pictures off of his walls and
finding out just how much he misses her – sad and emotive, with Benoit
producing a pain wracked voice, a little like Percy Sledge.
A medium speed “Next To Me” takes us up to the last
track, a nice rocker to finish up the album – “Mudboat Melissa” – with
the fiddle player really excelling himself and pushing the guitar work
along at a good pace – Benoit at his best!
This was an album worth waiting for, and let’s hope
it’s not too long before the next Tab Benoit CD.