Lil’ Red & The Roosters – Out Of The Coop!
Ohioan Jen “Lil’ Red” Milligan and her French cohorts churn out some energetic and convincing blues in acoustic and band settings. She is in possession of a strong and clear voice well suited to all songs. Pascal Fouquet brings his forty years of guitar experience to the proceedings along with Thomas Troussier on harmonica. A rhythm section joins them on four tracks. They contribute three songs of their own along with eleven cover songs.
An authentic old-timey blues sound is given to Lazy Lester’s “Sugar Coated Love”, highlighted by tasty guitar and harmonica work. Lil’ Red’s sexy and sultry vocal delivery enlivens Memphis Slim’s “The Come Back”. The band gets the energetic rhythm just right on Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips”. The Four Blazes’ “Don’t Lose Your Cool” delivers on some really nice guitar-harmonica interplay, once again showing the tightness of all players involved.
A cool presentation is given to J.B. Hutto’s “Slow Down” in the three-piece acoustic setting. “Hound Dog” comes off with a fresh and sprightly approach, howls and all. I’m sure Big Mama Thorton would approve of their version. The original “Gritty Pretty” is a snappy jump blues is one of those songs that you wish would never end. “Fever” works well in an acoustic setting with Jen’s spare percussion. The slinky “Sneakin’ Up On You” contains a neat guitar “hook”. “I’m a one-eyed cat sneakin’ around the corner”.
Proof that they can handle many genres of the blues is presented in the country-blues of “Keep On Lovin’ You”. They stay true to the Chicago grittiness of Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More”. The torch song “Why Don’t You Do Right” features Toots Thielmans-like harmonica by Thomas Troussier and double-tracked Lil’ Red’s at songs end.
This is a well thought out and executed record performed by well-honed musicians. Excellent vocals backed by top-notch players, what else could one ask for? They have an obvious admiration and genuine feel for the blues. No bumps in this blues road as it is a seamless project that makes no wrong turns.