How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Tab Benoit can always be counted on to release solid Creole blues recordings. That special mix of the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana deep bayou is what makes Benoit stand out from an ever-burgeoning population of blues artists. He capitalizes on this fact by giving his road band a vacation and taking on Louisiana's Leroux as his rhythm section. If that was not enough, he also brings some friends along for the ride. The result, Brother to the Blues, proves Benoit's most enjoyable release to date (and considering his catalog, that took some doing).
Benoit coaxes the funk out of the bayou on the opener, "Pack it Up, and again on "If You Love me Like You Say, the latter sporting a scorching B3 solo by Nelson Blanchard. Benoit's guitar is precise and well-captured, as are his vocals. No stranger to any genre, Benoit indulges his county jones on the title cut, "I Heard that Lonesome Whistle Blow and "Grace's Song, the latter two sung with Jim Lauderdale. Lauderdale and Benoit turn Delta blues on "Moon Coming over the Hill, before Benoit shows off his slow blues on "Somehow.
The guilty pleasure on the disc is the closer, "Can't Do One More Two-Step, a jaunty Cajun romp taken at medium tempo. Always beholden to Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Benoit's take on "Bring it On Home to Me is nothing less than soul overload. Benoit and Louisiana's Leroux meet at the crossroads in a blues-soul séance fueled by Benoit's cutting guitar. Often fearing recordings with several "special guests, I found Brother to the Blues to be a welcome surprise and a fine addition to the Tab Benoit discography.
Track Listing: Pack It Up; Bring It On Home To Me; Brother To The Blues; Why Are People Like That?; I'm On Your Side; I Heard That Lonesome Whistle; If You Love Me Like You Say; Comin' On Strong; So High; Grace's Song; Moon Coming Over The Hill; Somehow; Can't Do One More Two-Step.
Personnel: Tab Benoit: vocals, guitar, pedal steel; Jim Lauderdale: vocal; Billy Joe Shaver: vocal; Waylon
Thibodeaux: fiddle; and Louisiana's LeRoux: Tony Haselden: guitars, banjo, backup vocal;
Nelson Blanchard: B3, piano, Wurlitzer, backup vocal; Leon Medica: bass, backup vocal; David
Peters: drums, percussion, backup vocal.