Stripped down, plain ole R-n-R, that’s what you get here. Roots flavored rock and roll, with no bells, no whistles, no slinky chickies in high-cut low-riders, no fog, and no fireworks … except the sonic type. My favorite cut on this CD is number 5, “Testament,” although I’m happy to say I enjoyed every cut here.
Too Slim and the Taildraggers can even make a great ballad sound like RnR. The lead guitarist, singer, and slide guitarist, Tim Langford, struts his stuff just a bit on this cut, and while the entire group is tight, together and accomplished, I’d like to hear more of Tim’s guitar work.
Let me also say that this CD grabs your complete attention from the git-go, and doesn’t let go until long after the music’s finished, some 52 minutes later. The first cut, “When You Love Somebody,” is a rock-soul-blues banger that immediately perks up your ears and puts you on an E-ride. [Think Disneyland/World.] It’s not specifically mentioned, but the female blues belter who backs up Langford on this cut deserves more attention. Lauren Evans is mentioned immediately following the final cut, “The Light,” so it isn’t clear whether she’s the same person throughout the CD, although I would assume so.
“Last Train,” the second cut, reminds me of Skynyrd or very early Allman Brothers. It’s a simple melody with not much fancy footwork, but when he throws this song at you, it sticks. As Langford relates on his website, all the lines in this song, and much of the album, were inspired or influenced by one day’s reading of the Seattle Times. Think what Langford could do with a whole year’s subscription!
The third cut, “Devil in a Doublewide,” reminds me of an old joke: “I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman. I’ve woke up next to one a few times, though.” “Free Your Mind,” which follows at number four, was a pick for the Billboard Top Blues Album Chart just two weeks ago. One listen and you’ll understand why.
The remainder of the CD is filled with great stuff. From the tour schedule at the website, it looks like Illinois is about as far east as the group will get this year. Perhaps some festival promoter will be sharp enough to recognize the talent in this group and give us folks in the East a chance to catch them live. This is the tenth release from this great Seattle rock and roll band, and I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Supporting Langford is bassist Dave Nordstrom and drummer Rudy Simone. Producer Todd Smallwood, who also co-produced the group’s last album, The Fortune Teller, plays Hammond organ and 12-string guitar on the recording too.
I wish Too Slim would have been onboard the latest Lynyrd Skynyrd Cruise. They would’ve fit in beautifully, and I would have had the opportunity to see them live more than once during this all too short four day excursion.