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CD REVIEW: Walter Trout - Full Circle
By JJ Biener - 09/20/2006 - 02:25 PM EDT

Artist: Walter Trout
Album: Full Circle
CD Review: Walter Trout
Full Circle

In the summer of 1997, I was putting together a Blues/R&B band with a bunch of guys outside St. Louis. One day Rich, our lead singer, brought in a song and said, ďYou guys have got to hear this song.Ē He played it and we were just blown away. It became a staple of our live shows and a consistent crowd favorite. The song was Broken Heart by Walter Trout. From that day to this, I have been a fan of Mr. Troutís music.

It was with obvious pleasure then that I found Mr. Troutís latest CD Full Circle in my stack of new arrivals. I dropped the CD into my player and cranked up the volume. From the opening guitar riff, I remembered why I love the Blues. Pain, joy, love, sorrow, pride, regret are distilled and condensed into their pure, raw essence. A place deep inside resonates with every note.

The opening guitar riff mentioned above is from the song She Takes More Than She Gives. This song was recorded with the legendary John Mayall. It is an 8 minute 40 second tour de force. Mayallís expressive piano work provides the perfect counter point for Troutís soulful guitar. Their vocals put across the pain of a romance gone awry. While a song that long can easily become repetitive, Trout and Mayall wring every emotion they can, keeping the song consistently interesting and engaging.

Working Overtime is a collaboration between Trout and the unique talents of guitarist Jeff Healy. Healyís style of playing nicely compliments Troutís. There is an old saying that it is difficult to keeps oneís ego afloat in the sea of someone elseís virtuosity. There is no such issue here. All that comes through is the respect each guitarist has for the other and the joy they share in practicing their craft.

Another notable track is a cover of Erskine Hawkinsí After Hours. It features some serious Hammond B3 work from the inimitable Deacon Jones. Other Blues luminaries appearing on this CD include Coco Montoya, Joe Bonamassa and Junior Watson.

This CD was recorded live in the studio with all of the musicians in the same room. There are no overdubs, no digital wizardry to fix bum notes, and most of the time, no retakes. Whatever was lost by recording in this less that pristine acoustic environment, is more than made up by the feeling and presence put forth by these musicians feeding off each otherís energy. The result is one of the best Blues recordings I have heard in a quite a while. For more information check out Water Troutís web site at

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