Albums that combine live and studio tracks can, in some cases, be inconsistent. Some artists are so reliant on studio technology that they fall apart in a live setting; they sound stiff and awkward the minute they take the stage. And on the other hand, some artists are so fond of playing live that they become inhibited in the studio. But there is nothing inconsistent or uneven about Walter Trout's debut album, Life in the Jungle, a collection of live and studio recordings from 1989; on this release, the blues-rocker is as focused and inspired on-stage as he is in the studio. All of the tracks were recorded in Scandinavian countries; the live performances are from an appearance at the Midtfyn Festival in Denmark on July 2, 1989, while the studio material is from a session in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 21 and July 9 of that year. And in both settings, Trout really shines -- the singer/guitarist has no problem going that extra mile on original tunes (including the title song and "Good Enough to Eat"), as well as passionate versions of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House," Buddy Guy's "She's out There Somewhere," and John Lee Hooker's "Serves Me Right to Suffer." On the latter, Trout shows his appreciation of Canned Heat without allowing his own personality to become obscured. Life in the Jungle is blues-rock the way it should be: tough, gritty, rugged, and heartfelt. This is the Trout album that blues-rock enthusiasts should be happiest to get their hands on.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson