Walter Trout & Friends - Full Circle (2006)

Artist: Walter Trout & Friends
Album: Full Circle
Year: 2006
Label: Ruf (1117)
Genre: Blues
Style: Modern Electric Blues
Format: Lossless
Form: RAR(+3%) Flac(separate)+CUE+LOG+SCANS
Size: 517 Mb
Source: My CD collection

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In his mid-fifties at the time of this album's release in 2006, Walter Trout seemed to be in a reflective mood. His 2005 album was a collection of older, previously unreleased tracks from various stages in his extensive career. This follow-up finds him reconnecting with many artists he has worked with, laying down newly recorded originals. In fact, this is Trout's first studio recorded disc of fresh material since 2001's Go the Distance. As the Full Circle title implies, the guitarist rounds up some musicians/friends he has played with for a spontaneous set of performances. The liner notes explain that some of these tracks were unrehearsed first takes, and the heightened energy level throughout reflects that. Also impressive is that Trout was eye-to-eye with each artist, as opposed to projects where guests lay down solos at various times in different cities and never see each other. The disc kicks off in fine, heated form with John Mayall sharing vocals and guitar and adding harmonica to a fiery eight-minute slow blues workout "She Takes More Than She Gives." Trout restrains — slightly — his propensity to pummel more notes per minute than the next guy, infusing greater passion into his playing as evidenced by the swampy blues-rock of "Workin' Overtime," featuring Jeff Healey. Fellow fret shredders of his genre such as Bernard Allison, Coco Montoya, and especially Joe Bonamassa add predictable firepower with their contributions and seem to spur Trout to new heights. In this heavy company, it's refreshing to hear him shift into a jazzier mood with Junior Watson on "Slap Happy" and even go acoustic on "Firehouse Mama," where he trades hyperactive riffs with neighbor Eric Sardinas. Harp master/vocalist James Harman (who, with his burly face and long white beard looks more like Moses everyday) and organist Deacon Jones bring comparative subtlety to the proceedings and alter the groove to a less frenzied attack than when Trout is trading licks with his guitar buddies. Guitar Shorty, Little Feat drummer Richard Hayward, and noted DJ Larry Keene — whose articulated fast talking can be compared to Trout's own style on guitar — also appear, the latter for a spoken word title cut finale that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Deep blues fans will still probably shy away due to the album's guitar heavy appeal and Trout's tendency to overextend his furious solos. But for the blues-rocker who loves a rugged blast of electricity and barrages of notes played with no-frills intensity, this is arguably Trout's most listenable, impressive, and diverse album yet.
Review by Hal Horowitz
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Personnel:
Bernard Allison — Guitar, Vocals, Performer
Bill Bateman — Drums
Joe Bonamassa — Guitar, Vocals, Performer
Alec Fraser — Bass
James Harman — Harmonica, Vocals, Performer
Richard Hayward — Drums
Jeff Healey — Guitar, Vocals, Performer
Stephen Hodges — Drums
Deacon Jones — Performer
Rick Knapp — Bass
John Mayall — Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals, Performer
Coco Montoya — Guitar, Vocals, Performer
Rob Rio — Piano
Tom "Curly" Ruff — Executive Producer
Eric Sardinas — Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals, Performer
Finis Tasby — Vocals
Daniel Timms — Piano
Marie Trout — Executive Producer, Author, Photography
Walter Trout — Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals, Producer
Junior Watson — Guitar, Performer
Al Webster — Drums
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Tracklist:
1. She Takes More Than She Gives (Featuring John Mayall) 8:41
2. Workin' Overtime (Featuring Jeff Healey) 5:48
3. Firehouse Mama (Featuring Eric Sardinas) 5:07
4. Who's Listenin' In (Featuring Coco Montoya) 6:51
5. Slap Happy (Featuring Junior Watson) 2:31
6. Wrapped Around Your Finger (Featuring Guitar Shorty) 5:02
7. A Busy Man (Featuring James Harman) 7:40
8. Highway Song (Featuring John Mayall) 2:54
9. When Will It Ever Change (Featuring Bernard Allison) 4:57
10. Can't Help Falling Apart (Featuring Finis Tasby) 4:00
11. After Hours (Featuring Deacon Jones) 6:48
12. Clouds On The Horizon (Featuring Joe Bonamassa) 7:51
13. Full Circle (Featuring Larry Keene) 2:29

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