Top critical review
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Kenny pays tribute to his blues heroes
on 10 May 2014
This album sees Kenny Wayne going back to his roots and playing songs by artists who influenced his guitar playing, including Albert, B.B. and Freddy King, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Magic Sam. He takes a band including singer Noah Hunt, drummer Chris Layton, bassist Tony Franklin and Riley Osbourn on keyboards back to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana where they recorded live in the studio and were joined by guests including Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb' Mo', Robert Randolph, Kim Wilson and the Rebirth Brass Band. Kenny's guitar playing is very good throughout, he gets a good modern blues sound that pays homage to his heroes but isn't a straight copy of what has gone before.
My favourite track was the B.B. King song "You done lost your good thing now" - a nice subtle 8-minute long slow blues with both Kenny and the band in great form, closely followed by Albert's "Born under a bad sign" with Keb' Mo' on vocals and the Rebirth Brass Band - a real funky workout. I also liked Albert's "Breaking up somebody's home" with Warren Hayes, Muddy's "Still a fool" with Robert Randolph on steel guitar and Buddy Guy's "Cut you loose". I wasn't as keen on Freddy's "Palace of the king" which I didn't think was as good as Popa Chubby's version and I thought that all the subtlety of Magic Sam's "Everything gonna be alright" was completely lost in this version.
However, I guess I'm not really the audience for this record - I remember all the originals and, while I can really admire Kenny and the band's musicianship, I'm always going to prefer those originals to these modern interpretations. Three and a half stars.