Walter Trout has had not one, but two, successful recording careers. There are the 10 discs he has released in the U.S., but like many American musical artists including Luther Allison, he is even more popular in Europe. Deep Trout is a compilation primarily from three CDs on the Continental label – Prisoner of a Dream (1990), Transition (1992), and Breaking the Rules (1995).
Trout is arguably the most prominent purveyor of what might be called “shred blues.” There are a lot of guitarists who can play a lot of notes, but Trout plays with emotion and intellect, paying homage to the past while avoiding mimicry. He’s also never been big on filler material to pad out an album. Constantly touring for more than three decades, nearly all of his songs are the end product of the process of coming up with a musical idea, then tweaking it during dozens of live performances until the communication between the artist and the audience is precise and complete. If Trout can’t get the audience rocking in unison with a song, it simply doesn’t make the album. Deep Trout is the best of the best from the early years of his career, going from an insanely high level of metal blues (“Put It Right Back”) to acoustic-backed balladry (“The Love That We Once Knew”) to a resonator teaser intro to a hard rocker (“How Much Do You Want”) – and that’s just in the first three cuts!
Three previously unreleased bonus tracks include an acoustic version of one of Trout’s most popular numbers, “Life in the Jungle,” as well as “Big Chain,” and the Junior Wells classic “So Sad To Be Lonely.”
Musicians include longtime co-conspirator James Trapp on bass, Daniel “Mongo” Abrams on Hammond B3 alternating with Martin Gerschwitz on keyboards, and Bernard Pershey on drums. If you like your blues hard, fast, and to the point, you can’t do better than Deep Trout.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.