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Tab Benoit: Fever for the Bayou

Jim Santella By

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Tab Benoit's title track reflects the Zydeco music of his homeland. It's in his blood. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he's grown up with this "poor man's music" and has come to find that it's a perfect way of expressing what ordinary people like us feel every day of our lives. The message is plain and simple: live every day to the fullest and don't look back. No regrets, no self-pity, no envy. Just go on, don't think about what might have been, and celebrate what you've got. Life is a party.

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux makes a guest appearance on "Golden Crown" with a Mardi Gras celebration that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The bayou never looked so good.

But not everything is about celebrating with Zydeco. Cyril Neville joins Benoit on "The Blues is Here to Stay" in a vocal duet that prowls surreptitiously with an infectious melody. The song's Bo Diddley rhythmic foundation and its tell-tale lyrics manage to summarize what the blues means to us. Covers of influential songs by Buddy Guy and Elmore James lend additional credibility. Benoit gives contemporary blues something to chew on. He extends his reach back to our roots, bridges the gap with convincing vocal interpretations, and complements each piece with fiery guitar licks that just won't quit.

For those of us who prefer to mix jazz and blues, Benoit has included a throwback cover of "I Can't Hold Out," which features a vibrant conversation between the leader and his reliable tenor saxophonist. The sparks are flyin', as Benoit and the band rip up the floorboards.

He closes the album with two old school pieces that recall the origins of jazz and blues. The music speaks from emotion, tells a story, and it weighs heavily on our souls. But, it gives everyone a chance to loosen up in a meaningful celebration of life.


Track Listing: Night Train; Little Girl Blues; I Smell A Rat; Fever For The Bayou; Lost In Your Lovin'; Golden Crown; I Can't Hold Out; The Blues Is Here To Stay; Got Love If You Want It; Blues So Bad; My Bucket's Got A Hole In It.

Personnel: Tab Benoit-Guitar, Vocals; Carl Dufrene-Bass; Daryl White-Drums; Cyril Neville-Percussion, Vocals; Big Chief Monk Boudreaux-Percussion, Vocals, Jimmy Carpenter-Tenor Saxophone.

Title: Fever for the Bayou | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Telarc Records

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