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Tab Benoit is a passionate axeman and full-throated singer. His sixth release shows the full extent of the Louisiana native's considerable talent.
Recorded live to analog in a '50s-era Houston studio, These Blues offers uncompromising guitar-propelled blues. The music here is occasionally reminiscent of the two Alberts, King and Collins, and includes tracks made famous by both. An additional five tracks were penned by Benoit. Per his usual, Benoit delivers a few swampy odes to his Louisiana stomping grounds.
Aside from an easy-going acoustic version of Magic Sam's "Mother Earth," Benoit establishes a furious pace on this Vanguard debut. An airplane pilot before he became a full-time bluesman, Benoit takes flight here with his soaring Telecaster solos. The guitarist was born on the bayou in Houma, La., so he knows whereof he sings on fast-rockin' originals like "Crawfishin' and "Bayou Boogie," as well as his wonderfully muddy version of Hank Williams' "Jambalaya." The bayou fare offers a nice contrast to more straightforward blues cuts like "Crosscut Saw," the title track, and Collins' "Don't Lose Your Cool."
Benoit doesn't want any horn players or rhythm guitarists crowding his space, so he limits the backup to his full-time band (Allyn Robinson on drums, David Lee Watson on bass and Marc Adams on piano and B-3). With Benoit's fiery licks, some ferocious grooves, and a rhythm section that keeps pace, These Blues is a great listen for any lover of blues guitar.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.