LIVE in LAFAYETTE
The King of Slydeco Gives Us The Best of His Best TWICE.
Sonny Landreth is one of those guys whose name you know; but never quite sure where from until you do some research and find he’s a ‘Guitarist’s Guitarist’ playing on albums by everyone from Eric Clapton to Little Feat via Johnny Winter and beyond; and when I checked I found I don’t actually own any of his 16 previous albums; but that has been out right by this intriguing Live Double Album; with two sides being his best tracks played acoustically and the other two electric.
The acoustic set opens with Blues Attack, the title cut from his first solo album in 1981 and with nothing to compare it against; this Cajun belter features Landreth’s breathy singing and some really hot guitar licks but the Star overshadowed by Steve Conn’s swinging accordion on a cool Southern Bluesy song.
The first night I played this album was a stifling Summer’s evening and was the perfect march for songs like the dreamy A World Away and The High Side which both beggar pigeon-holing into a specific genre, as Landreth truly makes his Resonators ‘sing’ as the band strum away in an Urban-Texacana kind of way.
Now I’m on my third ‘sitting’ it comes as no real surprise to find Mark Knopfler is a fan and gifted Sonny the custom engraved Beltona that features on the album cover and Landreth plays so magnificently on A World Away.
If we stay with the Acoustic Album; it’s the type of cool soundtrack to BBQ get together for serious music fans; with a couple of specific tracks, Hell at Home instantly springs to mind, that will get them to stand tall and face the speakers like meerkats!
USS Zydecoldmobile is something of a ‘theme tune’ for Landreth and I can hear why; it takes Zydeco music into a whole new stratosphere for me; and it will for you too…..but, with Landreth’s stunning rendition of Key To The Highway running it close, my favourite song here is Creole Angel; a slow burner that will get you reaching for your love and smooch real slow in the moonlight.
Then there are the other two sides of baking hot and sweaty electric music, which opens with Back To The Bayou Teche; they type of song Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler have spent decades trying to master; yet Sonny Landreth and friends make it sound all too easy; when we know it isn’t.
Things slow down and get real funky within seconds of that song ending so Landreth can make the notes flow out of his guitar like Summer rain.
While some of these tracks can be described as ‘up-tempo’ Sonny Landreth makes laid-back sound like a day in the gym; as he bends notes for fun on the three mind blowing instrumentals here; Milky Way Home, Brave New Girl and Umbresso which whisked my back to my days listening to John McLaughlin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra……and Landreth’s intricate playing is every bit as complex and technically brilliant.
The latter is immediately followed by a slow Blues called Soul Salvation; which is more up my street these days; especially as we get to hear another beautiful accordion solo in the middle.
As you would expect from a guy who has been recording for 30 odd years, he keeps the best for last with a sassy Walking Blues bleeding into my favourite track from these two sides; the album closer The One and Only Truth which has Landreth and friends pulling out all of the stops on a cracking dance tune that makes the Mavericks sound quite pedestrian.
I’ve said many times before that the main reason I do this and put so many hours in is so I can discover new music that you struggle to find anywhere else and pass it on to you guys and gals……..Sonny Landreth and in particular this Live in Lafayette album is just that type of pearl.
Try it; I think you will like it.
Released 30th June 2017