Walter Trout and Friends

Walter Trout and Friends

Walter Trout and Friends

Full Circle

Ruf Records

A while back I reviewed a terrific blues CD by a guy named Eric Bibb. It’s a low-key, graceful and inspiring disc. Well folks, here’s a blues record that is exactly the opposite of those things. New Jersey-born Trout is a former sideman to folks like John Lee Hooker and a former member of Canned Heat. Unfortunately, as this CD demonstrates, he’s also a huge show-off and blustering blues blowhard who doesn’t know when to let up.

The liner notes of Full Circle are quick to point out that Trout used no guitar overdubs and cut many of the tracks here in one take. Admittedly the guy is an impressive fretman, though he seemingly never met a guitar solo that was too loud or too long. He’s joined by a procession of guest stars including John Mayall (Trout was once a member of Mayall’s Bluesbreakers as well), Jeff Healey (remember him?), Coco Montoya and Junior Watson.

The songs are mostly interchangeable excuses for Trout to turn up his Stratocaster loud and let his fingers go wild before yielding to his guest. Trout’s vocals are equally strident and lacking in subtlety.

Due to its instrumentation, the acoustic slide and harmonica blues “Firehouse Mama” is certainly the quietest track here, but Trout and guest Eric Sardinas manage to keep the party vibe going throughout by taunting each other to even greater guitar virtuosity.

Unfortunately the entire endeavor is unlikely to be involving to anyone but the most undiscriminating air guitar players out there. Despite Trout’s gratuitous efforts to impress, Full Circle is loud, dumb, and dull.

Walter Trout:

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