Out Of The Madness

The Derek Trucks Band

House Of Blues Records, 1998


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I believe that certain portions of children's musical tastes and influences are shaped by their parents. I still remember going to A&P with my mom when I was about four, and she bought the Funk & Wagnalls Family Library Of Great Music over the course of 22 weeks. To this day, I still love classical music, even though I don't listen to it as much as I'd like to. In turn, I'm willing to bet my daughter will probably have an affinity for hard rock, blues and jazz when she grows up.

Derek Trucks grew up in a musical environment (his father, Butch, is a member of The Allman Brothers Band). So it shouldn't be surprising that Trucks now is creating music that has its roots in both the blues and in Southern rock. The latest album from The Butch Trucks Band, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Out Of The Madness, is both a good contemporary blues album and an almost carbon copy of the Allman Brothers Band.

Trucks's guitar work is good, though I have to admit I'm not the biggest afficianado of slide guitar - especially when it's used through a good portion of the album. The core of the group - keyboardist Bill McKay, bassist Todd Smallie and drummer Yonrico Scott - all combine to form a solid rhythm section that is as tight as one could want.

To augment the lineup, Trucks brings in a series of vocalists - including bluesman Larry McCray ("Ain't That Lovin' You") and former Allmans member Warren Haynes. The end result is a more enriched sound, although I would have preferred hearing just one vocalist throughout the album, no knock meant against any of the three singers.

Each particular vocalist brings their own kind of grit to the tracks. Whether it's McCray taking his turn, Matt Tutor putting the touches on "Preachin' Blues" (one of two Son House tracks on this album) or Haynes adding almost a whiskey-soaked quality to classics from Sonny Boy Williamson, House and Howlin' Wolf, the band answers with a solid backbone in the performance.

And the lessons of the Allmans have been learned, as the Derek Trucks Band proves to be as powerful of a jam band (if not overzealous, as the longest of the instrumentals is almost nine minutes); tracks like "Younk Funk" and "Kicmin' Back" attest to this.

The only drawback (if one could call it that) is that it takes a few listens to really warm up to this album. By the third spin, I had found a lot to appreciate about Trucks and his band. But for a disc clocking in at just over an hour, that's a lot of time to have to put aside to truly enjoy this one.

Still, if you enjoy traditional blues as well as a bit of Southern rock thrown into the mix for texture, then Out Of The Madness will be a wonderful addition to your collection. It takes some time to really warm up to, but is a testament to the talent of Trucks and his band.

Rating: B

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of House Of Blues Records, and is used for informational purposes only.