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July 2005

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Tab Benoit
Fever For The Bayou

Telarc Blues

Tab Benoit

Since the early ’90s one guitar slinger from the bayous of southwest Louisiana has steadily put out his brand of soul-powered blues injected music. Tab Benoit continues delivering on his latest release from Telarc Blues, Fever For the Bayou.

It’s easy to tell upon one listen that you are in the hands of a master player who’s expertly taken the swamp flavored sounds of his Houma, LA surroundings and once again transported this feel to the studio live with no overdubs. This allows Benoit to take his message through his music directly to the masses avoiding the sterilization so prominent in a lot of today’s music.

One very important message he conveys musically and written in the CD insert is his undying love for the southwest Louisiana swamplands now in danger of being lost by yearly coastal erosion. So passionate Benoit is about this issue that he started the Voice of the Wetlands project where he currently performs duties as president.

Benoit is surrounded with mighty musical talent from his consistent band who’s graced his side since day one. This includes Carl Dufrene on bass, Daryl White on drums and Jimmy Carpenter providing super sax. Offering guest support we have Cyril Neville on loan from the formidable New Orleans family band, the Neville Brothers supplying vocals and percussion, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux with his Mardi Gras Indian style chanting and vocals.

If you ever heard Benoit before you’re familiar with his unique style of playing combining high- pitched notes stretched to their wonderful limits. Perfect example of this is on the Cyril Neville tune "The Blues Is Here To Stay," Neville’s tribute to the blues artists and bands who have come before up to the current stable doing their best to maintain this great American art form. Here, Benoit and Neville trade off their vocals nicely reminding us about how the blues is here to stay through the names associated with this music from B.B to Clapton. A true blues history lesson summed up in six minutes.

Another familiar guitar picking style of Benoit appears on the James Moore (Slim Harpo) classic "Got Love If You Want It." Benoit introduces the song with his scratching method beautifully fitting it into the context of the tune.

My favorite has to be "I Smell A Rat." Benoit’s hot and slow grinding picking form takes you into the song and doesn’t let go. Being a long time listener, this is something I’m accustomed to.

As Benoit usually does on his releases we’re treated to an acoustic number just featuring vocals and guitar. This time out, Clarence William’s "My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It" shows up in all its fine glory. Elmore James even makes an appearance in Benoit’s superb rendition of his "I Can’t Hold Out."

In Benoit’s latest you will get a bayou load of his sound and spirits. Enough, hopefully to encourage you to make the trek to south Louisiana to experience first hand your own Fever For the Bayou.

To further your knowledge of Tab Benoit and his music go to and his label Telarc at

Good Listening.

---Bruce Coen

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