Walter Trout – Luther’s Blues – A Tribute to Luther Allison

by Rick Moore

walter-trout_luthers-bluesWalter Trout is one of the blues greats who hasn’t really gotten his due, and he shows why once again on Luther’s Blues – A Tribute to Luther Allison. On this album, Trout covers songs by one of his heroes, a Chicago legend who was a little different than most of the straight-ahead legends like Muddy or Wolf. Allison infused other styles of music into his blues playing, making both styles better, and Trout approaches the material with a reverent abandon that would probably have made Allison, who died 16 years ago, smile. Allison was one of the great live blues acts, and spent many years playing in Europe, where the cover photo of Allison and Trout was taken.

As the former guitarist with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Canned Heat, among others, Walter Trout is easily in the ranks of the other great electric blues players, both white and black, both British and American, of his generation. So it took some nerve for him to tackle an album of nothing but covers by Allison, both artistically and financially, as Trout won’t seeing writer’s income from the tracks. He clearly had a great time cutting such Allison classics as “Cherry Red Wine” and Pain in the Streets,” and even listeners who are unfamiliar with Allison’s work will definitely be impressed with the way Trout pays homage to it. Trout is one of the greats, and deserves to be more widely recognized by his peers (and American audiences) by something like, say, being invited to Clapton’s Crossroads festival. We’ll keep our fingers crossed while we listen to this record.

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