Doc Lou & The Roosters – Back To Louisiana
Self-Release – 2021
10 tracks; 37 minutes
Harp player, vocalist and front-man for the band, Doc Lou lived in the USA for several years before returning to his native France where he now lives in the Aude region and established this trio with guitarist Jeff Hug and drummer Michel Geronimo, both experienced musicians. Lou handles lead vocals and harp, plus acoustic guitar on three tracks, Jeff plays electric and slide, acoustic on six tracks and provides backing vocals, as does drummer/percussionist Michel. Recording engineer Eric Payan plays organ on one song. All the material was written by Doc Lou.
Opener “But One Thing” blends zydeco and Rock n’ Roll as Lou makes his harp sound like an accordeon, not a surprise, given the title of the album! Lou sings clearly with just a soupçon of French accent and the title track comes next, starting with some good harp work over a loping shuffle as Lou reminisces about what he misses in the French Quarter. Echoey guitar gives “In The Wood” a slightly eerie feel, a feel reflected in the lyrics which reference graveyards; lots of good guitar work on this one to admire. “Can’t Quit You” is a short track with a stop/start rhythm, slide guitar and all three guys joining in on the chorus while the next cut has Lou hitting some piercing harp tones on a mid-paced tune with minimal lyrics which do not go a lot further than the title, “C’mon Hey Yeah”. “Rock Groove Shake” does not do a great deal more than its predecessor lyrically, but fairly rockets along with Lou’s harp to the fore. Percussion and slide introduce “Bye Bye Baby”, Lou still in love but having to leave the relationship because she is placing limits on things like his drinking!
The longest track is “Late At Night”, a slow number which makes Lou’s accent more obvious, but the addition of Eric’s organ adds an extra dimension as it gradually takes over the tune after Lou has had his say on harp. Immediately after comes “Missing You”, another strong track with a real foot-tapping rhythm and some great Rn’R guitar from Jeff – probably this reviewer’s pick track on the album. The album closes with the country ballad “Love & Light” which seems a little out of sync with the rest of the album.
Overall this is another of those albums that makes you realise just how far the influence of American music has spread. Not always consistent, but several good tracks and enough blues DNA to make it of interest to Blues Blast readers.