Saturday, October 31, 2009

Walter TROUT - Viva Las Vegas,Live 2004

Walter TROUT - Viva Las Vegas,Live 2004


Sure, in interviews the rock stars say it's all about the music. But then why not play jazz—or, as Frank Zappa called America's great art, the music of unemployment? The truth is that even the most heavily tattooed and pierced deviant in this week's mtv instant hit is there to live out a fantasy of acclaim and fortune. It isn't like these folks have a lot of other avenues to get rich and famous if rock star doesn't worked out for 'em: Most guitarists I've met would otherwise be going through life asking folks if they want their fries supersized and letting the girlfriend pay the rent. And then there are the drummers ...

But I have no doubts that for the New Jersey-born guitar player Walter Trout, the music really was the only thing calling him to his vocation. Why else would he specialize for more than a decade now in making the sort of blues-rock that hasn't been popular since the heyday of Foghat? Trout actually lands more on the blues side of things. In reviews, Trout's playing—on a 1973 Stratocaster—is frequently compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan. The comparison is fair if you keep in mind that Trout's playing is in no way derivative. Trout's notes can whiz and sing a melody all their own. But he has only the chops while Vaughan also had magic and charisma. So Vaughan died in 1990 a superstar, the year Trout's debut received a European-only release. By then, Trout—who, being three years older than Vaughan, was pushing 40—could be under no illusions that his playing was ever going to land him on radio or MTV.

"Am I livin' my childhood dreams / you might say it's true," he sings on "The Life I Chose," from his new disc, Relentless, concluding, "But be careful what you wish for / It just might come to you." As a child, Trout managed to meet Duke Ellington and his legendary band. By then, the fame of these musicians had long been eclipsed by rock stars. But in his biography, Trout recalls the profound impact the encounter had on him. "I was there for two hours while Duke, Cat Anderson, Johnny Hodges and Paul Gonsalves sat in a circle and talked to me about music and life. I was in awe." Trout walked away with a sense of the true rewards that can come from a life dedicated to music that has nothing to do with fame. Walter Trout taught himself to play guitar and chose his future before he was 16.

If he didn't find instant success, Trout's prodigious, torrid playing got him plenty of work as a sideman. He backed John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton; he also did a five-year stint in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. In 1981, Trout got his dubious break when he replaced the late Bob Hite as the singer for Woodstock veterans Canned Heat. Of course, by the '80s, this was a nostalgia-circuit going nowhere. But it kept Trout working and playing.

Despite the odds, Trout's extraordinary playing managed to get noticed one night in 1989 by a Danish concert promoter, who offered to help Trout finance the launch of a solo career. So it was in Denmark that Life in the Jungle, his solo debut, was recorded and there that it was originally released. Trout's playing is on fire as he rips through honed takes on songs from the repertoire established by his former employers, from Canned Heat to John Mayall. The disc went unreleased in America until earlier this year, but its impact helped establish Trout as high-profile player in Europe. In fact, a BBC Radio poll ranked Trout the sixth greatest guitar player of all time. A major label briefly picked him up.

But the years have gone by and Trout has never had a shot at the big time. He hasn't even come close. There are no hits, no Grammy awards, no gold records. Not even a No. 1 record on the Billboard Blues Chart. But Trout has achieved something far more precious in the music industry than commercial success. He has a career. He has released 13 CDs, and thanks to his brilliant playing and relentless tours has built a loyal fan base to buy them. Screw the fashions and screw the fickle tastes of the PlayStation generation. Walter Trout gets to keep making music his way.
By Richard Abowitz.
Disc 1:

01.Dust my room
02.Reason i am gone
03.Talk to ya
04.Cry if you want to
05.Work no more
06.walkin´ in the rain
07.Best you got
08.Finally gottan over you

Disc 2:
01.I am tired
02.The life i chose
03.Marie´s  mood
04.Gotta leave this town
05.I don´t  want my mtv
06.Life in the jungle
07.Serve me right to suffer
08.Good enough to eat
1 2 3

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