Live Trout

Walter Trout And The Free Radicals

Ruf Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Live blues music can often be a hit-or-miss affair, especially when the performer is affected by circumstances out of their control. Take Walter Trout, vocalist and guitarist for his band, the Free Radicals. In the liner notes of his latest CD Live Trout, the story of how Trout almost didn't make it to this show (recorded in Tampa Bay this past March) is detailed.

That he could muster up the energy to put on a nearly 90-minute set is amazing enough. But to put on a set like he does over these two discs is more than amazing, it's a testament to the kind of musician that Trout is. And while there are moments where the energy lags in the show, overall this is the kind of disc that could turn Trout into a household name.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Trout often seems like a rock guitarist more than a blues musician. He whips off lead lines as if he were emulating Jimmy Page, sounding like he's blistering his fretboard. He lets loose with wild whoops of joy often throughout the course of this show.

Yet beneath the surface lies the soul of a bluesman, and he proves it throughout Live Trout. With tracks like "I Can Tell," "Gotta Broken Heart," "Finally Gotten Over You" and "Serves Me Right To Suffer," Trout and his band put on a show that goes right for the jugular. Often, he hits it dead on, while he occasionally hurts his cause with incessant guitar noodling, such as what he does at the close of "Walkin' In The Rain".

Trout even makes a strong case for declaring Bob Dylan a blues musician, as evidenced by his cover of "I Shall Be Released," which is performed lovingly. Even the closer, "Good Enough To Eat," in all its irreverent style, comes across as being loads of fun.

On one glance, it may seem funny that this was turned into a two-disc set, when neither disc clocks in at over 50 minutes. But this is supposedly the whole set that Trout performed (I'm not calling them liars; I just can't prove that it is, since I wasn't there), and no one has figured out a way to cram 90 minutes' worth of music onto one disc. So, to preserve the show's continuity, the split is made - and, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense.

Live Trout will have you fishing for the right compliments to use when describing this disc, and even with a few minor stumbles, it will reel you in hook, line and sinker. Who knows? You may not even resort to weak, fish-related humor like this.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ruf Records, and is used for informational purposes only.