Ever since the blues was invented, musicians have been reinventing and mixing it up in an endeavour to keep the genre alive and reach a new audience in order to tell human stories. The new album from The Quireboys, White Trash Blues, is a twist on old blues classics. The Quireboys have always had a tinge of blues to their music, but after dipping their toes into Americana on their last album some may see the move as a sideways step. After a full blues set at Ramblin' Man Fair the band decided to record a full blues record, so for them, it was a natural progression to go back to the songs and music that they have connected with for years.
From the outset, the band sound totally at ease with the material, and that's the great thing about this album - all the tracks sound and feel as if they could be Quireboys originals. Crosseyed Cat launches the album into full swing with the band taking on the Muddy Waters track from his 1977 album that also featured Johhny Winter. The passion for the material is there from the get go with blues aficionado Keith Weir relishing in the keyboard runs and Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin laying down a furious guitar groove. As they move into John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom the songs take on a life of their own with Spike's gravelly vocal engulfing the track. There's such dynamism on these tracks that they are incendiary and often delivered with the energy and zeal of the Quireboys live shows that make it impossible to sit still.
I Wish You Would is raw and sexy and delivered with the usual Quireboys swagger and the laid back feel of Jimmy Reed's Get Some Insurance is replaced with plenty of mojo and plenty of tongue in cheek. Going Down has the punch of Freddie King but adds a smooth southern feel that cements the track as the bands own. Willie Dixon's Hoochie Coochie Man is given a fiery makeover that steers it away from its blues heels and tunes it to a heavier, weightier sound that fits in with the bands image.
There's no point on this album that the band sound tired or sluggish, The Quireboy's have never sounded better and more dynamic than on this album. By fusing together their love of blues and rock they have collated an album of cover versions that really add something to the original, rather than regurgitating them with tired note for note replicas. The bands handling of these classic blues tracks is unrivaled and I'm pretty certain that we'll hear many of these songs in their future live shows for some time.
Groupie Rating 4/5