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August 1999

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an amazon.com associate

Buy Walter Trout's CD today


Surprise

Walter Trout and the Free Radicals
Livin' Every Day
Ruf

Walter Trout - Livin' Every DayWhatever A&M exec who signed a certain Twin Cities Blues wunderkind to a
multi-year, multi-album deal ought to be shuffling down the bricks, while the crafty Dane who lured Walter Trout to Europe can rightly strut
his stuff.

As I've heard it, Trout and Coco Montoya were playing for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, when Mayall had to pull out of a European tour due to illness. Coco and Walter decided to soldier on with Trout fronting the band. The combination met with great critical and fan success, with
Trout, a New Jersey native, deciding to be a citizen of the EU, after playing guitar for the likes of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton and a five year stint with Canned Heat. What a tragic musical loss for the USA.

Well, Trout and his band The Free Radicals are storming these shores with a vengeance, using this CD, Livin' Every Day, as their visa. This, my friend, is how power blues should be played. Trout and the boys go straight for the jugular from the "Hear My Train A Comin'"-like intro
of "Livin' Every Day," to the final cords of "Prisoner Of A Dream." And if Trout's prowess on guitar isn't enough, he's a mighty blues shouter, too.

Trout does not back down from any subject, musically dealing with topics that show he's paid his dues and doesn't mind letting you know. For example, the almost lilting, country-esque "Apparitions," which sounds as
if it were penned by Steve Earle, is an ironically comic take on a serious fight with drug addictions. The next cut, "Junkyards In Your Eyes," is a hard rocker in which Trout says, "I wrote for a friend and excellent guitar player, who cannot get away from his addiction to heroin." Yet, he also composes tender blues ballads like "Sweet Butterfly," which he wrote for friends whose infant daughter had
died, or the instrumental "Through The Eyes Of Love," that he dedicates to his family.

Of Trout's sidemen, my highest kudos go to bassist "#" (the artist formerly known as James Trapp). Crank it up, 'cause "#" can drive that bass straight up your ass, especially on the title cut and "Let Me Know," "I Thought I Heard The Devil," and "City Man." And don't let me forget Free Radicals Bernard Pershey and Paul Kallestad. Pershey pushes the band with clean, tight percussion. And Kallestad's a B3 master, nary a Roland effect in earshot. "Say What You Mean" is their song.

All I've got further to say is, "Yo, record company dudes! Quit nettin' the small fry and start landin' the big fish."

--- Bob Jewett

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