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CD Review: Tab Benoit 

Night Train to Nashville

The Deal: Cajun soulman captured live in swamp-boiling escapade.

The Good: Tab Benoit plays guitar like a blend of Albert King and Albert Collins and sings like Delbert McClinton with a Cajun accent. This live set taken from a two-night stand in Nashville last year captures the best of his swampy, soulful blues style. And if it's soul you want, "Darkness" sounds like it'd be as much at home in Otis Redding's mouth as it in Tab's. "Solid Simple Things" recalls the easy rockin' swamp-pop style of Fats Domino with an Albert King stinger on the side. He's equally at home with The Fabulous T-Birds-sounding rocker "Two Sweet For Me" featuring T-Bird harpman Kim Wilson slinging some great greasy chops around. Jim Lauderdale pops up for some astounding, out-of-character soul work on "Moon Coming Up Over The Hill" that makes you wonder if he missed his calling as a soul man. He calls up Wet Willie frontman Jimmy Hall for some great blue-eyed soul on "Rendezvous With the Blues" that seeps deep into the Delta as Hall gets Muddy, Mannish-boy style, on the down and dirty finish.

The Bad: That he hasn't done this before. Benoit's first live recording demonstrates what those of us who've seen him already know – a Benoit performance is the best time you've ever had with the blues.

The Verdict: His best record yet. Remember that yet part, and stay in touch – this guy's got a lot more yet to give. He'll be at the Double Door on June 13.

Telarc; Release date: April 22, 2008

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