Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Everybody's Talkin'-Tedeschi Trucks Band Live

I was fortunate enough last year to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band live in Melbourne, they came out for the East coast Blues and Roots Festival at Byron Bay and made a whistle stop visit to Melbourne for one show on Good Friday. It was one of the best live shows I have seen, the emotional intensity of Susan Tedeschi's blues soaked vocals matched against the brilliance of Derek Trucks on guitar, couple with that was a rhythm section that was tight and kept that groove going.

For those who missed them on their tour now have the chance to listen to what an outstanding live band they are with the release of their live album Everybody's Talkin which captures them in amazing form, these shows were recorded during the tour for their Revelator album. What I love about this album is the balance they have between their original material and the covers they choose, they add a new dimension to each song they cover. They are truly enamoured with the classic rock and soul covers of the late 60's and early 70's with a nod to the improvisational element of an Allman Brothers live show. Everybody's Talkin a cover of the Harry Nilsson tune is given a funked up shuffle treatment highlighting the soaring vocal of Susan Tedeschi, her voice is amazing capable of singing any type of song and imbuing it with fire. Midnight in Harlem starts off with a nod to The Allman Brothers with a short intro from Little Martha, Derek Trucks channels the spirit of Duane Allman in his extended solo, bending and stretching each note dripping blues until it's completely wrung. John Coltrane had his sound described as "sheets of sound" Derek is capable of following this dictum bombarding you with cascading notes that are never indulgent just pure and captivating. As he brings the band back in after his solo there is a roaring crescendo that makes the hair stand up on your neck, not many guitarists out there today have that ability. From the Revelator album the band perform a down home crisp version of Learn How To Love You with a nice intro from Trucks. The old Muddy Waters chestnut Rollin and Tumblin is given the true R&B treatment with a syncopated drum opening and some scratchy rhythm guitar before Tedeschi backed by a horn section take the song by the scruff of the neck. Tedeschi gives the song all the passion and raw suggestiveness the song requires. Side one of the album is completed with a cover of the Lovin Spoonful's Darling Be Home Soon, the song has a beautiful drawn out improvised solo with Trucks showing his deft ability to build a solo slowly and then explode with wild screams amidst crashing cymbals and the ever present thundering bass of Oteil Burbridge. Oteil is an underrated bass player and I enjoyed watching him perform last year, he has a sense for melody as well as that precise technique to lock in the groove.

Side two has four tracks and kicks off with slow blues grind of That Did It once again featuring expressive vocals and the band really laying it in the pocket. A cover version of Stevie Wonder's Uptight takes a twist towards jazz with some fine drum soloing. The album closes with a gospel drenched rendition of Wade in The Water which to me is the perfect vehicle for a band like this, Derek shows on this album his ability to play really tight blues grooves as well as those stretched out languid jazz inspired solos that he is so well known for. He really is a unique guitarist, he ever traverses the same ground each work offers something new and something joyfully unexpected. Susan Tedeschi is one of the finest blues vocalists going around period, in much the same way that Derek utilises his instrument Tedeschi can convey so many things with her voice and can adapt to any song, I can't wait for this group to return to these shores. What is even more pleasing is that when I checked the ARIA charts on Sunday night this album had charted at #49 on the back of no commercial airplay and little mainstream promotion.

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