Review: Hot Roux – Stranger’s Blues

Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2015

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Hot Roux – Stranger’s Blues

(Hi Hat Records & Entertainment: HHE 3406)

Here’s a little gem that may stay ‘under the radar’ in the UK . . . a smashing album from South Californian outfit, Hot Roux. The band leader, Jerry McWorter is a fine singing drummer, and together with bass player Brent Harding have penned most of the ten songs here.

The duo have made a name in their native California as a top rhythm section backing such household names as Kim Wilson, James Harman, the late Lynwood Slim and more. Hot Roux often tour as a trio with guitarists Ed Berghoff or Tommy Harkenrider – and they are both present here; with some sparkling guitar too from the great Franck Goldwasser.

Rounding out the musicians on “Stranger’s Blues” are Pat McClure (guitar), Sam Bolle (bass), Steve Nelson (bass), Jacob Huffman (harmonica) and Bill Flores (saxophone) – all great players.

The music is just great from start to finish – all fans of the particular type of Californian blues will lap this up – straight blues and swing, some funky touches, and shades of rockabilly and Cajun.

A couple of standouts are the uptempo romp “Woman Where You Been”, with nice harmonica from young Jacob Huffman; the blues of “Seven Lonely Nights”, featuring Franck Goldwasser on trademark superb guitar; and Tommy Harkenrider’s contributions to “Tick Tock” – a 50s R&B blast, with ace saxophone from Bill Flores.

“Can’t Get You Off My Mind” gives Ed Berghoff a chance to show off his guitar prowess; and the closing “Another Seven Lonely Nights” has shades of New Orleans about it, with more fine guitar from Goldwasser.

All tracks were recorded ‘live’ in the studio and that certainly has helped capture the skill of the players and the natural energy of the songs. Well worthy of investigation, and highly recommended!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.jerrymcworter.com

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