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Jim Weider and the Honky Tonk Gurus – Big Foot

 
Big Foot

Okay, the only words I can use to describe my reaction to this record are “blown away.” Weider, as some of you probably know, works as the guitarist in the current version of The Band. While his playing there is excellent and always adds to the songs, I was unprepared for the firepower shown here. Weider comes across, on all 11 cuts, as a powerhouse player who knows his instrument inside and out, and is more than comfortable in any genre of music.

Check out the tone on the opening/title track. Snarling can’t even begin to describe it. I, and thousands of other players, would kill for this sound. Put that together with the playing on this blues/rock instrumental, and you’ve got pure gold.

And things don’t stop there. I didn’t expect a player like Weider to cover Hendrix, but check out “Little Miss Lover.” Preconceived notions can fool you. His biting tone, very strong solo, and funky rock sound are right on the money. He shows his ease with classic soul music on “Deepest Cut.” It starts with nice volume swells and killer single-line work, and before it’s over, you’ll hear some of the nicest harmonic work and bends this side of Roy Buchanan and Jeff Beck. There’s funky, horn-driven blues (“Love’s Like Rain”) with guitar work that would make B.B. King smile. Or how about more classic soul in the cover of Bobby Womack’s “I’m In Love.” Killer vocals by Ernie Cate, and nice guitar work by Weider. There are also shuffles, Meters-style funk, straight-ahead blues, and swampy rock, all done with great taste, great chops and a ton of fun. The folks helping out on the album would be pretty familiar to some of you too. People like David Sancious, Tony Levin, Harvey Brooks, the late Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, and members of Weider’s sometimes-band, the Honky Tonk Gurus – Richard Bell and Randy Ciarlante.

I confess. This definitely is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. Killer songs and great performances, especially by Weider. Highly recommended.



This review originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’00 issue.

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