2008-05-06Like his Whisky Store Live release with Jimmy Thackery, this disc, recorded live at the Place on Second Street, Nashville, TN, brings out the best in guitarist Tab Benoit. While his studio efforts are solid and workmanlike they are sterile and stiff compared to the emotion laden performances Benoit brings to the stage. Backed by his long time touring outfit, Louisiana’s Leroux, and a host of guests including Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie), Johnny Sansone, Jim Lauderdale and Waylon Thibodeaux, Benoit takes a musical tour through the blues, soul and the rich heritage of Louisiana with a taste of down home Cajun music and New Orleans second line grooves. Benoit’s guitar chops are on bright display despite the big guest list, most notably on the slow, sizzling, blues of "Darkness" where Benoit channels Buddy Guy and "Muddy Bottom Blues" where Clapton and Cream come to mind. "Too Sweet for Me" features Kim Wilson and Benoit trading harmonica and guitar solos that blister the stage one moment and then take things down to a mere whisper the next. "Lost In Your Lovin’" drips with soul but is merely an appetizer for "Rendezvous with the Blues" where Jimmy Hall channels Bill Withers on vocals on top of Benoit’s steamy guitar grooves which segue from soul to stone cold blues. "Fever for the Bayou" is a loose, celebratory romp through swampland blues with Sansone’s harmonica providing a prickly counterpoint to Benoit’s guitar. Slowing things down a bit, the band does a cheek to cheek version of Louisiana Leroux’s hit, "New Orleans Ladies". Wrapping things up is "Stackolina" where the stripped down combo of Benoit, Kim Wilson and Waylon Thibodeaux generate more heat than three men should with amazing instrumental interplay that is the highlight of this set. Smitty
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