Hot Roux – Hometown Blues | Album Review

Hot Roux – Hometown Blues

Hi Hat Records 2017

11 tracks; 38 minutes

With a name like Hot Roux you might expect the band to come from New Orleans and the band does hit a Louisiana groove on some tracks but in fact they are from California! The rhythm section of Jerry McWorter on drums and Brent Harding on bass wrote all the material here, Jerry also handling all lead vocals; guitar duties are shared between Franck Goldwasser (aka ‘Paris Slim’ of the Mannish Boys) on four tracks, Ed Berghoff and Kyle Jester on three tracks each and Johnny Main and Jon Lawton on a cut each. Carl Sonny Leyland plays piano on one track, RJ Mischo harp on two and Jimmy Calire and Bill Flores add sax to three.

Jerry sings in a clear and pleasant voice throughout and on opener “Don’t Wanna Talk About Love” there is a definite NO feel with the saxes pushing things along nicely, solo honours going to Jimmy’s tenor, RJ’s high-pitched harp and a ‘twangy’ outing from Franck. “Della Be My Baby” opens with Jerry’s drums and Franck’s slide and develops into a fine piece of rock and roll with New Orleans drum patterns. The pace drops for “Woman You Haunt Me” with the piano adding a 50’s Rn’R feel to the track before the horns make a second appearance on “Down And Out” which is possibly the standout track here; Franck’s rhythm work underpins everything, the horns add depth and Jerry’s vocal is convincing as he sings of being left stranded. The short rocker “Misery Misery” has a real 50’s feel with Kyle’s rocking guitar at the heart of the song while “One More Train” sounds a little like Canned Heat’s “Goin’ Up The Country” performed by a country band!

Ed Berghoff adopts a Mark Knopfler style of guitar on “I Hear’m Talking”, a gentle tune with rather sad lyrics which Jerry conveys well. The comic “Can’t See” finds Jerry bemoaning his failing eyesight which results in multiple pairs of glasses: “I got two on the nightstand and more in the drawer, another pair on a stack of books piled on the floor. Can’t see – these old baby blues have passed their warranty”. A fun song that will make you smile as you listen to it! “Rent Party Boogie” does pretty much what the title suggests as Jimmy’s brooding sax follows the rhythm section and Johnny Main’s rock and roll guitar in support of Jerry’s slightly distorted vocal. RJ Mischo makes his final appearance on “What A Lie”, a slinky latin rhythm and Jerry’s cynical lyrics about some marriages, Franck adding some tasty slide. The album closes with the catchy “Wake Up Slim” in which Ed plays some country-flavoured licks over his own rhythm work. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of this album is that with the exception of “What A Lie” only one guitarist appears on each track so all the rhythm and lead interplay we hear is by a single player.

Overall a thoroughly entertaining album with a satisfying mix of retro styles – definitely worth investigating.

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