Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tab Benoit

Brother To The Blues

Reviewed by Dr. Blues

Brother To The Blues finds my favorite bayou bluesman, Tab Benoit, in the fine company of compadres with a similar roots slant. Backed by a passel of Louisiana LeRoux members, Jim Lauderdale, Waylon Thibodeaux and Billy Joe Shaver, the roots are in for a work-out.

The profound power of early country (Hank, George Jones) and the soulful gut wrenching of blues are cemented by the cult classic sound of Louisiana LeRoux. Waylon Thibodeaux fiddles true cajun while Shaver rasps through hard lives and times. Lauderdale was rocking roots when few knew what it was. Tab calls him the "new guy from the old school." Together, they divulge and develop Benoit's earliest musical influences.

Opening with a 4WD swamper called "Pack It Up," Tab trims the wick on a soul burning cover of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." Yearning flows out of the axe like honey. "Brother To The Blues" has crying pedal steel and the soft tears of good ol' country. The heat cranks up on a Creedence styled "Why Are People Like That," first penned by Robert Guidry, which explores inter-personal relationships in a unique fashion while Tab sears with his R&R axework.

LeRoux members provide understatedly beautiful vocal harmonies throughout the disk including the Hank Williams/Jimmy Davis prison song, "I Heard The Lonesome Whistle." Tab wonders what's happening in her pretty head as warbling Hammond and pounding guitar orchestrate "If You Love Me." Shaver articulates "Comin' On Strong" backed by Benoit on pedal steel and Thib's fiddle. Closing with "Can't Do One More Two-Step," Tab and Waylon trade licks while bemoaning the working musician's plight.

She wraps up tight and Tab's done what he does for 55:07 of swamp blues, country and soulful pain and joy. On The Great Beyond planetary scale, Tab Benoit comes in hovering between Venus and Earth.

Review used by permission. Check out Dr. Blues' website at


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