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23.9.08

Tab Benoit




Tab Benoit - Live: Swampland Jam - 1997 - Justice

The great bluesman Tab Benoit has the Louisiana bayou blues running through his veins. Tab has never deviated from his Cajun-influenced blues style, and like Rory Block, and musicians of the calibre of Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, he is one of todays great blues traditionalists, never selling out to commercialism. This is a wonderful New Orleans style soul/blues album and is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Buy the Tab Benoit & Jimmy Thackery album, "Whiskey Store Live," and Tab's great "Nice And Warm" debut album.

TRACKS

1. Let Love Take Control 5:24
2. Ain't Gonna Do It 5:14
3. Moon Coming Over the Hill 2:59
4. Too Many Dirty Dishes 7:53
5. Keep on Moving 3:52
6. Heart of Stone 7:44
7. Gone Too Long 4:35
8. Garbage Man 5:01
9. Crawling King Snake 4:41
10. Louisiana Stule 4:37
11. It Takes a Long Time 5:07
12. Hot Tamale Baby 6:07


All songs composed by Tab Benoit, except Tracks 4, by Albert Collins, 11, by Tabby Thomas, Tab Benoit, & 12 by Clifton Chenier, Tab Benoit

MUSICIANS

Tab Benoit - Vocals & Guitar
Doug Therrien - Bass
Allyn Robinson - Drums
Henry Gray - Piano(4)
Raful Neal - Harmonica(8)
Chubby Carrier - Accordion(12)
Tabby Thomas - Vocals(11) & Guitar(11)
Jumpin' Johnny Sansone - Harp(9) & Accordion(10)

Recorded at: House of Blues, New Orleans, Louisiana, Feb 22, 1997and Grant Street Dance Hall, Lafayette, Louisiana, March 8, 1997

REVIEW

This is by far the best album this Louisiana blues/swamp-rocker has come up with to date. Benoit is playing with basically a three-piece, with Doug Therrien on bass and Allyn Robinson on drums. The rest of the sound is filled in by various guests, some exceedingly strong Louisiana players. Therein lives both the problem and the strength of this disc -- the sound is a bit thin when there's no guest taking up some space. Only on the slow burner "Heart of Stone" and "Gone Too Long" does the basic band fill up the airwaves. The music is good, but without that fourth player, it doesn't have enough density. When there is another player, the sound is as gritty and raw as they come -- Cajun-based blues with a swampy sensuality. Benoit's singing and guitar playing have taken giant steps forward and are up there with the best. © Bob Gottlieb, All Music Guide




ABOUT TAB BENOIT
Tab Benoit was born on November 17, 1967, in Baton Rouge, LA. One of the most impressive guitarists to emerge from the rich bayous of southern Louisiana in recent years, bluesman Tab Benoit serves as an inspiration to other aspiring players of the region. A guitarist who himself progressed naturally from classic rock and country to the blues, Benoit holds the belief that the next generation of guitarists will likewise discover the style that motivated him to pursue a musical career. "The blues are the roots of all American music," he expressed to Billboard magazine's Steve Graybow. "As people grow older and form their own opinions, they go back to what's real--and the blues is as real as it gets. When you are young, you want everything to be make-believe, but as soon as you get older you want something more tangible." Content in his youth to play more popular music until a friend loaned him an album by Buddy Guy, Benoit redirected his energies and set out to recreate the older bluesman's deep-rooted emotion, adopting Guy's style and researching with intensity the blues tradition. Shunning those who were not receptive to a white man just out of his teens playing blues guitar, Benoit decided to follow his own path. And it was his blues rather than rock and roll that earned him his first record deal with Justice Records, for whom he recorded his debut album, 1992's Nice and Warm. Since then, he has gone on to record five more albums, including two in 1999: Homesick for the Road and These Blues Are All Mine, for the Telarc and Vanguard labels, respectively. Born on November 17, 1967, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Benoit grew up in the nearby oil and fishing town of Houma, where he still resides today. Musically, he was exposed early on to traditional Cajun waltzes and the country music broadcast on his hometown's only radio station. Benoit's father was a musician the family home was filled with various instruments. Falling in love first with the drums while a Catholic school student, Benoit soon switched to guitar because the only gigs to land in rural Louisiana were held in churches and at church fairs, and organizers would not allow loud drums to be played at these events. Nonetheless, Benoit felt grateful for a chance to play. "Yeah, what I really loved was drums," he admitted in an interview with Rebecca West of the Blues On Stage, "but it doesn't matter what I play: it's music." Despite his initial reservations, Benoit took to the guitar with little guidance, and within no time, his natural gift became evident. In fact, he claims that he barely remembers learning to play at all. "It was my ninth birthday when I got my guitar. [But] I was a guitar player and there really weren't any good parts in Cajun music for guitar, just strummin' rhythm chords," he recalled, as quoted by the Womp Blues website. "I had a book that showed you how to play chords. After I learned the first three, I got rid of the book." However, Benoit would not discover his true passion--the blues--until his teens. "When I heard John Lee Hooker and B.B. King, I thought, 'That's what I've been looking for.' I always played music, but that's when I saw that this kind of playing came easy to me. I never sat down and tried to learn scales, I just enjoyed playing what I felt," he continued. From that moment on, and against his parents' advice, Benoit set about a career in music. Upon graduating from high school he played guitar in every type of band around, including country and rock, in order to hone his skills, even though blues music remained his first love. Consequently, every time he took the stage, hints of the blues came through. Whether playing music at weddings, local Cajun festivals, or 1950s-style rock and roll shows, Benoit seemed happy just for the chance to play. Like many modern-day bluesmen, Benoit found it difficult to find an audience accepting of his style and grew increasingly discouraged. Fortunately, a trip in 1989 to New Orleans to see Albert Collins perform proved to be a life-affirming experience. And he soon looked toward Collins and other blues aficionados--among them Tabby Thomas, Raful Neal, and Henry Gray--for inspiration. "These guys are playing from a different era," he told Womp Blues. "Every note that they play means something. Every note has a specific purpose and place, so one note can say a lot more than a lot of notes can say." Financial constraints and family pressures forced Benoit, albeit reluctantly, to attend college and place his musical pursuits on hold. There, he pursued another lifelong interest: flying. "I took all the courses first to get my certified flying license. And I was playing on weekends to pick up money," he recalled to West. Then, after coming in third at a blues jam contest in New Orleans, Benoit's music, too, began to take flight. Impressed by his performance, Justice Records invited the hopeful blues guitarist to participate for the compilation Strike a Deep Chord: Blues Guitar for the Homeless alongside such artists as Dr. John, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Johnny Copeland. Signing with Justice, he released his solo debut, Nice and Warm, produced by Randall Hage Jamail, in 1992. Contributors for the set included Gregg Bissonette on drums, Steve Bailey on bass, and Paul English on keyboards. Along with a record deal, Benoit also finally gained his father's approval. "Well, now he says he taught me everything I know. Once I got a contract it was all different. Of course no one where I came from had ever made it as a musician before. He was trying to keep me from having to give up something I loved," said Benoit to West. Although Benoit did not break any new ground with his subsequent albums, all of his efforts showcase a traditional, yet fresh and understated style, and critics marveled at his dexterity on the Fender Stratocaster guitar. "With tone as thick as gumbo and licks as fiery as a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, singer/guitarist Tab Benoit may be the hottest thing to come out of Louisiana since Chef Paul Prudhomme," Guitar Player once commented about his abilities, as quoted by Benoit's official website. "Influenced by Buddy Guy's intensity and Albert King's gutsy punch ... Benoit's mellow Big Easy personality contradicts the tear-your-head-off intensity of his performance." After the release of What I Live For in 1994, Benoit returned in 1995 with Standing on the Bank, which revealed a more authentic feel than his previous albums and solidified his position in the blues world. Here, he enlisted a rhythm section comprised of Greg Rzab on bass, and Ray Allison on drums, both borrowed from Buddy Guy's band; the album also featured a duet with country great Willie Nelson. Recorded live in the studio in two days on a two-track tape, a method and a throwback to the days of old Benoit felt would give the album more spontaneity, Standing on the Bank indeed showed a cast of musicians completely on their toes. In 1997, Benoit released Live: Swampland Jam, his personal favorite because he considers himself more of a live performer than a recording artist. Recorded during two sold-out shows in Louisiana, this live set of songs, none of which appeared before on his studio albums, won applause for its raw-sounding blues. Following his successful stint with Justice, Benoit in the late-1990s signed with Vanguard Records. In 1999, he released These Blues Are All Mine, an album featuring five original compositions as well as new takes on songs by Albert Collins, Albert King, and Hank Williams. Benoit recorded the record at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, Texas, the oldest studio in the state. "We broke out the old tape machines and played live, just like we'd be playing at a gig. The energy just built and built so that everything we played was a keeper," Benoit said to Womp Blues. Earning rave reviews, the effort led Wall Street Journal contributor Craig Havighurst to comment: These Blues Are All Mine "spills over with emotion and fiery playing, captured with a vintage recording studio's ambience. You'll have to keep reminding yourself this is a new release and not a rediscovered master tape from a contemporary Magic Sam or Buddy Guy." An important factor of his success, stresses Benoit, is touring to bring his music to his fans coupled with the ability to keep each performance fresh. "Music changes all the time," he explained to West. "It changes every time I play it. I'm just there. It's coming through me." © Laura Hightower , © 2008 Net Industries - All Rights Reserved

SHORT BIO

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Tab Benoit makes his home near New Orleans in Houma, LA. Born November 17, 1967, he's one of a handful of bright rising stars on the modern blues scene. For most of the 1990s, he's been working each of his records the old fashioned way, by playing anywhere and everywhere he and his band can play. Unlike so many others before him, Benoit understands that blues is not a medium in favor with 50,000-watt commercial rock radio stations, so as a consequence, he's worked each of his releases with as many shows as he can possibly play. Since the release of his first album for Justice, Benoit has taken his brand of Cajun-influenced blues all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Nice and Warm, his debut album for Houston-based Justice Records, prompted some critics to say he's reminiscent, at times, of three blues guitar gods: Albert King, Albert Collins, and Jimi Hendrix. Although the hard-working, modest guitarist scoffs at those comparisons, and doesn't think he sounds like them (and doesn't try to sound like them), Benoit doesn't appear to be one who's easily led into playing rock & roll in favor of his down-home blend of swamp blues and east Texas guitar-driven blues. Talk to Tab at one of his shows, and he'll tell you about his desire to "stay the course," and not water down his blues by playing items that could be interpreted as "alternative" rock. Despite the screaming guitar licks he coaxes from his Telecaster and his powerful songwriting and singing abilities, Benoit's laid-back, down-to-earth personality off-stage is the exact opposite of his live shows. Benoit's releases include Nice and Warm (1992), What I Live For (1994), Standing on the Bank (1995), and Live: Swampland Jam (1997), all recorded for Vanguard. Benoit then moved over to the Telarc label for These Blues Are All Mine (1999), Whiskey Store (2002, with Jimmy Thackery), Wetlands (2002), and The Sea Saint Sessions (2003). In 2004, Benoit released Whiskey Store Live, recorded with Jimmy Thackery on the support tour for Whiskey Store. 2005 saw the release of Fever for the Bayou on the Telarc label. 2005 also saw Voice of the Wetlands come out on Rykodisc. Another album from Telarc, Brother to the Blues, appeared in 2006. Power of the Pontchartrain followed in 2007. Considering that many of Benoit's records have surpassed the 50,000 mark, he's well on his way to a career that could rival the kind of popularity the late Stevie Ray Vaughan enjoyed in the late '80s. © Richard Skelly & Al Campbell, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

Tab Benoit (born November 17, 1967 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States) is a blues guitarist, musician and singer. He plays a style that is a combination of Swamp blues, Soul blues and Chicago blues. He plays Fender guitars and writes his own music compositions. Benoit graduated from Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma, Louisiana in May, 1985. In 2003, he formed an organization promoting awareness of coastal wetlands preservation known as "Voice of the Wetlands." A guitar player since his teenage years, he hung out at the Blues Box, a music club and cultural center in Baton Rouge run by guitarist Tabby Thomas. Playing guitar alongside Thomas, Raful Neal, Henry Gray and other high-profile regulars at the club, Benoit learned the blues first-hand from a faculty of living blues legends. He formed a trio in 1987 and began playing clubs in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He began touring other parts of the south two years later and started touring more of the United States in 1991- and he continues to this day. Benoit landed a recording contract with the Texas-based Justice Records and released a series of well-received recordings, beginning in 1992 with Nice and Warm, an album that prompted comparisons to blues guitar heavyweights like Albert King, Albert Collins and even Jimi Hendrix. Despite the hype, Benoit has done his best over the years to maintain a commitment to his Cajun roots— a goal that often eluded him when past producers and promoters tried to turn him and his recordings in a rock direction, often against his better instincts. These Blues Are All Mine, released on Vanguard in 1999 after Justice folded, marked a return to the rootsy sound that he’d been steered away from for several years. That same year, he appeared on Homesick for the Road, a collaborative album on the Telarc label with fellow guitarists Kenny Neal and Debbie Davies. Homesick not only served as a showcase for three relatively young but clearly rising stars, but also launched Benoit’s relationship with Telarc that came to fruition in 2002 with the release of Wetlands —arguably the most authentically Cajun installment in his entire ten-year discography. On Wetlands, Benoit mixes original material like the autobiographical “When a Cajun Man Gets the Blues” and the driving “Fast and Free” with little-known classics like Li’l Bob & the Lollipops’ “I Got Loaded,” Professor Longhair’s “Her Mind Is Gone” and Otis Redding’s timeless “These Arms of Mine” (Tab’s vocal style has long been influenced by Redding). Later in 2002, Benoit released Whiskey Store, a collaborative recording with fellow guitarist and Telarc labelmate Jimmy Thackery as well as harpist Charlie Musselwhite and Double Trouble—the two-man rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that backed Stevie Ray Vaughan. Benoit, in 2003, released Sea Saint Sessions, recorded at Big Easy Recording Studio (better known among musicians in the region as Sea Saint Studio) in New Orleans. In addition to Benoit and his regular crew—bassist Carl Dufrene and drummer Darryl White—Sea Saint Sessions includes numerous guest appearances by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville, Brian Stoltz and George Porter. That same year, Benoit and Thackery took their dueling guitar show on the road and recorded a March 2003 performance at the Unity Centre for Performing Arts in Unity, Maine. The result was Whiskey Store Live, a high-energy guitar fest released in February 2004. Benoit's 2005 release is Fever for the Bayou,which also includes guest appearances by Cyril Neville (vocals and percussion) and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (vocals). In 2006 Benoit recorded " Brother To The Blues" with Louisiana's LeRoux. The album was a bit more countrified but still was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. There is nothing country about his live rendition of these songs however. Tab was owner of Tab Benoit's Lagniappe Music Cafe, situated in the downtown district of Houma, Louisiana. He is also founder of an organization known as "Voice of the Wetlands," providing an awareness of the receding coastal wetlands of Louisiana.

3 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

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Anonymous said...

Once again thanks for another great Blues album. Take care John

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thank you, John. Isn't the guy something else? Blues will live forever with bluesmen like Tab.