Thursday, March 14, 2019

Album Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band - Live From The Swamp Vol. 1

Tedeschi Trucks Band
Live From The Swamp Vol. 1: Chicago Theatre, January 26, 2018
**** out of *****

At the close of 2018 the Tedeschi Trucks Band announced that they would be starting a fan club called the "Swamp Family" named after the groups home recording studio. To kick off things for fan club members the twelve piece rock and soul outfit released two shows for fans through the club.  Live From The Swamp Vol. 1: Chicago Theatre, January 26, 2018 lead the way for the series and the group themselves stated that this show was selected: "because it is simply one of the finest performances of the band’s career from start to finish". Tough to argue with that as the playing, sound and energy on this live release are all top notch.

The opening set is unique for the band as it contains all original compositions, beginning with "Anyhow" setting the easy rolling stage. While the first song and "Laugh About It" are fine performances from the professional band it is on "Don't Know What It Means" where the magic of this night really starts to seep in. A fiery soulful performance, with Susan Tedeschi lading the vocal way gets the crowd screaming as the group is locked in before an experimental squawking horn closing gets freaky, dripping back into the marching groove of the bright "Just As Strange".

Other first set highlights are the gospel influenced blazing southern rock of "Get What You Deserve" which has everyone cooking with gas as Derrick Trucks has fire shooting from his six strings and the set closing "Idle Wind" which runs almost twenty minutes and shows the wide range of the band from flute solos, to rhythmic drumming to exploratory reflective jams.

The sound on the release is a combination of soundboard and audience and while some past live release from the band haven't sounded great, yet this mix feels like you are in the crowd and enjoying the show with fans as the warm rich mix of the twelve piece.

For the second set the band came out with the full on accelerating road house blues of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" mixed with bubbling horns but it is the closing half of the set which really ignites. The trumpet lead freaked out funk rock of "Volunteered Slavery" and slide blues of Elmore James "The Sky Is Crying" prove the versatility of the band while the cover pairing of John Prine/Grateful Dead with "Angel of Montgomery>Sugaree" is blissfully gorgeous.

The show soars even higher on Signs "Shame" a burning soul shouter inthe vein of "Whipping Post" which fits the band like a glove, increasing the bass rumble while allowing the title couple display their formidable talents on the mic and guitars with horn and keyboard support. Trucks laying on this number is dynamic flashing pieces of inspiration from Jerry Garcia, Duane Allman, John McLaughlin and most importantly/prominently himself.   

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" is a spiritual set closer before the Tom Petty (who had recently passed away) cover/tribute "You Don't Know How It Feels" started an encore which ended with the call to "Let's Go Get Stoned" whihc Petty obviously would have appreciated. The band wasn't joking; this show is a dynamite display of their talents.

Last month RtBE reviewed the solid new release from the band, but this is a group that lives for the live stage and with this new series they get to showcase the their best moments. While the Signs is fine, Live From The Swamp Vol. 1 will be what is spun much more often in the RtBE clubhouse.
Support the artist, buy the album, and peep some live video of the group from 2018's Lockin' below:

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