It would be fairly simple to describe this husband-and-wife led Jacksonville (Fla) ensemble as a blues rock outfit, and although that is at the base core of what singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi and guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks are all about, it just doesn't do them justice as there is so much more going on here in this fine 3rd album release "Let Me Get By".
It's now 5 years since the bands debut platter "Revelator" propelled them firmly into the limelight with it's award of a prestigious Grammy for Best Blues Album at the 54th Grammy Awards, and this album pretty much carries on where that one left off with an offering bursting at the seams with fiery electric rhythm and blues, rocking country and a soulful edge to soothe the hardest of hearts.
"Anyhow" eases the listener in gently, a slow blues-infused burner punctuated with big fat brass alongside Susan's powerful yet restrained sympathetic vocal, building to a full-on crescendo where horns meet a scintillating lead guitar break to full effect.
"Let Me Get By" bears all the hallmarks of it's more illustrious predecessor - there is an undeniable quality that is prevalent throughout. Sometimes it's incredibly difficult to describe just how that quality manifests itself, but with all top albums it's there and you know it instinctively. Have a listen to Chris Stapleton's "Traveller" and you'll get a similar vibe. I'm guessing that fronting this 12 piece outfit, generally regarded as one of the most skilled and admired musical ensembles around does help, but in the final analysis it's always going to come down to the songs themselves. You can have the greatest band but that doesn't always translate into great music or indeed great songs. The Tedeschi Trucks band fortunately do have the songs to back it up. "Everyone giving it their all" as Truck's himself says.
This band have soul to burn. The almost Mowtown-esque "I Want More" echoing the halcyon days of Sam and Dave, and "Just As Strange" sees Susan taking on a Martha Reeves-esque persona on this gentle Stax infused rocker. "Don't Know What It Means" follows a similar musical path with Tedeschi trading strident vocal lines with Trucks' powerful guitar playing. But it's not crash, bang, wallop with this lot - no, there is a beautiful feel for the music that can only be garnered from many years playing at the top end of the musical spectrum. Yes, a 15 year run as a member of the Allman Brothers is going to do that for you!
This is one of those albums where you can pop it onto your turntable (remember those?) and just relax and let the quality of song and musicianship wash over you from start to finish. Don't make the mistake of comparing "Let Me Get By" to "Revelator" - it's like comparing Van Goghs! Pointless, always subjective, and varying from critic to critic. Take it on face value and enjoy it for what it is. A damn fine record, full of damn fine songs, played by damn fine musicians.
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