Walter gets the friends and family round for a really special party
On the album announcement for “We’re All In This Together” Walter Trout shows a previously unheralded grasp of the understatement.
“It was quite a piece of work to get this record together,” says the man himself. “But I guess I have a lot of friends, y’know…?”
Amongst those are the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayall and Randy Bachman – and that quartet is but four of the fourteen stars that provide the cast for this.
Even better is the fact that Trout wrote a song for each of the guests. “Gonna Hurt Like Hell”, which opens the thing is also for KWS. And if Shepherd’s brilliant recent solo record might have taken him into more rock waters, here he is a strutting bluesman again. Arguably better still is Sonny Landreth’s “Ain’t Goin Back”. Perhaps the best exponent of slide guitar there is, he neatly proves it.
In truth, it is almost impossible to pick highlights in these 14 cuts such is the quality, but “Other Side Of The Pillow” which sees Charlie Musselwhite blow the harp as only he can, is particularly special – and whilst everyone knows how much of a family man Trout is, there is nevertheless a certain type of glee in his voice when he offers, “you know it ain’t none of my fault if your woman is looking over my fence….”
It is just possible though, that everything here has to live in the slipstream of “She Listens To The Blackbird Sing” which sees Royal Southern Brotherhood’s Mike Zito and Trout’s old keysman Skip Edwards to the fore. The twin guitar at the end sounds for all the world like some lost Allman Brothers track too.
Whilst the core flavour of “…Together” is always blues, there are many other tastes on the menu. A foray into funky stuff sees Eric Gales appear for “Somebody Goin’ Down”, Edgar Winter buries the hatchet with Trout in spectacular style on the soul-infused “She Steals My Heart Away” and Joe Louis Walker is front and centre of the shuffling “Crash And Burn.”
And so it continues, his son Jon makes this a family affair on “Do You Still See Me At All” while the blistering rock n roll of “Got Nothin’ Left” was written for – and is slayed by – Randy Bachman and the delta blues of “Blues For Jimmy T” is taken to some other place by John Mayall’s harmonica.
An instrumental – “Mr Davis” – is indebted to Robben Ford, the only cover, Elmore Davis’ “The Sky Is Cryin’” is perfect for Warren Hayes, but it’s the closer that reminds everyone just how wonderful – and influential – Trout has been. The title track is another chance for Joe Bonamassa to take centre stage and as ever, the greatest of his generation doesn’t disappoint.
That said, Trout might be from further back but he too is without peer. After “Battle Scars” last year, an intensely personal – and absolutely amazing – record dealing with his illness and subsequent recovery, you can almost hear the smiles here.
Whereas in other hands, it might lack coherence – think of the album that Slash made with a guest singer on each track – here, under Trout’s supervision “We’re All In This Together” is more than aptly named. It is one of the albums of the year.