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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Walter Trout

Luther's Blues: A Tribute to Luther Allison

Review by Larry Toering

This is actually the first album of covers by Walter Trout, in what is a career catalog spanning 22 albums, thus far. Not being widely familiar with the music of Luther Allison (since this is a disc of covers of Allison’s music), this release has already changed that for me. So much respect is paid here that it doesn't seem to matter, because it's a blues lover’s dream either way you slice it. Having been around inside five illustrious decades you wind up doing a lot of different things, so when the idea of an album of covers from this iconic blues artist comes to mind, a large list of whos and whats must come up. But the very idea of it was actually planted when Luther Allison passed away in 1977, so it has been a long time coming, and from the sound of it, that wasn't such a bad idea. This is a thing of absolute perfection that reflects a lot of patience, and easily winds up among the highest quality of tribute albums.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
I'm Back

This opens the whole collection with appropriate fashion, as only Walter Trout knows how to do it. It's like two legends combined. This wasn't a tune with which I was familiar, but am now, as it instantly grabbed my attention.

Cherry Red Wine
This is a step higher indeed, and another one I will be for which I will be looking for the original recording This is sizzling hot in every department, and rocking as can be!
Move from The Hood
I like how this tells a story of moving on from the past and finding a better place to dwell. This is a well written track, as much as it is played here by Trout and Company. Both rock and blues here are perfectly matched.
Bad Love
This is a brooding blues ballad, delivered with the best of them. At this point, if you're a fan of Walter Trout, you can easily tell how he and Luther Allison had a lot in common as far as approach to the blues is concerned. The guitar playing here not only pays great homage, but it clearly keeps Walter Trout's chops up in the process.
Big City
The mean and nasty guitar licks are what instantly grab me here. It doesn't stop for one second, as this is even more brooding than the previous track. This comes complete with hot guitar fills left and right, and a commanding vocal performance. Yes, I'd say this is seriously one heck of a great tribute, as the disc begins to really pick up steam, and Trout himself catches fire.
Once again this is awesome, no question of it. The bass groove here is mesmerizing and the whole track just boils with R&B madness. The tempo even drops for an interesting twist. This is yet another killer rendition that has to be heard to be believed.
Just As I Am
Another great vocal performance dominates this track. It's one of the more gospel sounding tracks, as well.
Low Down and Dirty
Getting back into some more rock 'n roll style jumping on this one, this is certainly a traditional number in that sense. The guitar leads are absolutely terrific, if somehow a bit buried in the mix. But I think that might be part of the whole feel of the song, to give it that dirty vibe. We get a very cool tune indeed here.
Pain in the Streets
This is an over the top blues ballad, and one of the forces to be reckoned with concerning both artists in question, and the rest of the musicians. I get why so many rock artists have been influenced by Luther Allison, as it's written all over just this one killer song.
All the King’s Horses
Saying goodbye is what this is all about, and going in style, instead of making mistakes on the way. The big sound just keeps coming, one after another, as this holds up just as well as the rest.
More of that killer bass opens this number and it's very soothing. This is one of the most contemporary Allison tracks on the disc. This is a great tune that builds up perfectly throughout its extraordinary narrative / storytelling approach, in which Martin Luther King is quoted.
Luther Speaks
This is an original recording of a brief spoken word track from Luther Allison himself.
When Luther Played the Blues
This great tribute doesn't end in any less fashion than it begins, as this closer rocks away with the best on offer here. This is yet another reason it comes highly recommended, as it's excellent to the last note.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
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