Big Al & The Heavyweights – World Full Of Trouble
EllerSoul Records – 2018
12 tracks; 44 minutes
Big Al & The Heavyweights was founded by drummer Big Al Lauro and Warren Haynes in 1993 before Warren became part of The Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule. Since then the band has produced seven albums and continues to mix all types of roots music on their latest – blues, gospel, New Orleans Rn’B, zydeco, even country. The core band is Big Al on drums, Dean Galatas on bass, Destin Thibodeaux on harmonica, Lance Younger on guitar/vocals and Wayne Lohr on keys/vocals; guests include Bob Margolin and John Lisi on guitar, Jason Ricci on harmonica, Lance Ellis on saxophones, Greg Shatz on accordion, Glenn Sears on percussion and Cathy Pace and Donna Slayer (Jezebel’s Chill’n) on backing vocals. The album was recorded at Slidell, Louisiana and produced by George Cureau Jr, Big Al and Wayne; all the material is original with writing credits shared across the band, Al and Wayne being involved in most of the songs.
The title track makes a lively start to the album with Lance and Bob Margolin providing a twin guitar lead that gives the tune an Allmans feel. Wayne sings the next two, the swampy “Fool For Yourself” has John Lisi’s guitar snaking round Destin’s harp and Lance Ellis’ sax before Bob Margolin marks his second appearance with a striking solo on the pleasantly upbeat “Love So Fine” which also has excellent piano from Wayne. Lance is on lead vocals on the next two tracks, a gospel-infused “Testify” which benefits from the churchy backing vocals of Jezebel’s Chill’n and “Bayou Life” which allows the band to get back to its Louisiana roots with accordion and busy, buzzing harp from Jason Ricci.
Horns are added to “Big Rusty Car”, Wayne’s tribute to his ‘get me home’ vehicle which may not look much but continues to provide a service and the alto sax lends a jazzy feel to “Spanish Moss”. Dwight Breinad’s steel guitar provides a country feel to the amusing and entertaining “Mother Trucker” which Lance sings in a deep country voice. Wayne leads on “Millionaire Baby” which combines delicate guitar by John Lisi, some fine harp from Jason Ricci and a solid horn arrangement, making it one of the outstanding tracks here. On the bouncing shuffle “Crazy About You” Jason and Destin share harp duties and Destin also deps on bass (presumably not at the same time!). Lance Younger sings “Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right”, a swinging number with jazzy guitar, swirling organ and harp and the album concludes with a soulful, horn-driven ballad from Wayne, “Something Got To Change”.
This is an eclectic album with something for everyone. Well written songs delivered by two solid vocalists, well supported by a good band and willing volunteers giving a helping hand – definitely a keeper!