Walter Trout and his band

Walter Trout and his band
Luther’s Blues

Mascot Music

By Lady K
January 2014

Luther’s Blues is a tribute to Luther Allison, although anyone who is familiar with Walter Trout’s blues, already knows ‘which Luther’. As tribute albums go, this one pretty much kicks ass!!!

If you aren’t familiar with Walter Trout, allow Lady K to make the introductions. Walter is usually the songwriter, the lead guitarist and lead vocalist. The Walter Trout Band includes Rick Knapp (bass); Michael Leasure (drums); and Sammy Avilla (Hammond B3). On Luther’s Blues, a few other people joined the band on different tunes, including: Skip Edwards (keyboard); Deacon Jones (Hammond B3); Luther’s son, Bernard Allison (vocals and slide guitar); AND a few minutes with Luther Allison on a track courtesy of Ruf Records and the Luther Allison Holding Company. Ten of the thirteen tracks on Luther’s Blues were written by Luther Allison, either alone or with co-writers (including James Solberg, who played with Luther for many years); one track was written by Luther’s son, Bernard, and the final track was written by Walter Trout.

The music on this album is not Walter Trout ‘covering’ Luther Allison, but rather, Walter playing Luther’s tunes in tribute; basically Luther’s music has been “Walter-ized” in amazing fashion.

The up-tempo “I’m Back” kicks off the CD with rollicking rocking guitars (‘I’m back / I’m a bluesman’). “Cherry Red Wine” is slow and sexy and Trout’s guitar is mesmerizing while he warns ‘You keep on drinking that wine, baby, and even the grass that grows on your grave will be cherry red’. The rocking blues, screaming guitars, screaming Walter, and Michael’s killer drumming coalesce on “Move From the Hood”, and lead directly into the slow, sad “Bad Love”.

Lady K had a hard time with this CD – she usually picks a couple of tracks as favorites, but as with most of Walter’s music, every track is the favorite until the next track starts. My notes from “Big City” only say ‘OMG’. Sammy’s B3 is subtle where it needs to be and rockin’ where it needs to be on this version of “Chicago”. Skip Edwards handles the keyboards on the slow-blues love song “Just As I Am”.

Bernard Allison wrote the blues-rockin’, down and dirty track, entitled (surprise) “Low Down and Dirty”, and he joined Walter and the band, playing slide guitar. With lyrics like ‘I’m low down and dirty / low down’s on my mind / one day I’m gonna lose these dirty ways’, the tune was perfect for the down and dirty duet, with Walter and Bernard on vocals. This track also has a long instrumental mid-section with 3 guitars kicking ass: Walter, Bernard and Rick’s killer bass. Lady K has always believed that there just can’t be too many guitars in a good electric guitar blues tune, so this was another favorite.

AND, more slow blues, and more Lady K favorites in “Pain in the Streets”, lamenting ‘if pain were money, don’t you know I’d be a rich man’, and “All the King’s Horses” – also totally terrific. Oh, and one more don’t-miss track is “Freedom”. This tune is HUGE, and has both Sammy and Skip dazzling on keyboards. It’s actually hard not to stand up and sing along and cheer at the end of this one.

There are a few quiet moments where “Luther Speaks”; just a few sentences (maybe part of a long-ago interview). He talks about the importance (to him) of preferring that people be friends, rather than fans. It’s very cool.

“When Luther Played the Blues” is Walter’s ode to Luther Allison; a slow, slow, hip-grinding blues tune, just dripping with emotion. You can feel Walter reaching deep down inside himself, and pouring the emotion into this one: ‘You felt every time he laughed, you felt every time he cried / leave your ego, play the music and love the people.’ And then, when you think this already amazing tune has ended, Walter adds: ‘bye-bye, play on.’ I cried.

So, obviously I’m saying I loved Luther’s Blues; it’s another of Walter Trout’s brand of kick-ass, in-your-face guitar blues albums. I suspect he should probably add a disclaimer to his CDs, asserting that ‘no guitars were injured or in danger of injury during the recording of this album’.

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