Walter Trout and the Free Radicals Live Trout

Those "guitar hero" worshippers among us would do well to take note of this recent double-live disc recorded at the Tampa Bay Blues Fest in March. This is blues-rock in an intelligent wrapper, played in a power format and given added lustre by noted producer Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Blues Traveler). This is fiery, guitar-driven material, mostly Trout-penned, that is the kind of non-stop, red-hot solo-to-solo music that goes right to the bone and stimulates the adrenal gland. No surprise, having made a name for himself playing with John Lee Hooker, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and Canned Heat. His vocals compliment his material - raw, yet steeped in emotion. The Free Radicals' rhythm section never misses a beat, countering Trout's muscular presence measure for measure. Paul Kallestad's larger-than-life B3 glues it all together. Blues purists may not be amused, yet there's much to fall in love with here. The only complaint might be, surprisingly, an over-reliance on guitar. The never-ending guitar solo has become Trout's trademark, yet it is his use of interesting covers on this disc - like John Lee Hooker's "Serve Me Right To Suffer" and a soulful reading of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" - that serves to demonstrate his ability to rely on more than his lead chops to carry him through. These tracks also serve as welcome relief to this double-disc hell bound train of a live show. Blistering fun for one and all. (Ruf)