Watermelon Slim & the Workers

Bull Goose Rooster

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Watermelon Slim hasn't worked with his backing band the Workers since 2008, so this 2013 reunion is something of a big deal, and the old bluesman treats Blue Goose Rooster as something of an event. During his time away from his backing band, Slim cut some country, so he uses this lengthy album to consolidate all of his musical interests, dabbling in that driving hardcore country, but also old-fashioned folk hollers, Woody Guthrie covers, a bit of gospel, and a whole lot of hard-charging roadhouse blues which, of course, is the Workers' forte. As that high-octane blues kicks off the record, it first seems that Blue Goose Rooster covers familiar ground, but by the time Slim is duetting with Trampled Under Foot's Danielle Schnebelen on the skeletal "Over the Horizon," it's clear that Slim is taking chances. At times, his grizzled, toothless, close-miked voice can be somewhat wearying -- it is not as versatile as his music -- but it's hard to deny the restlessness and adventure that drives Watermelon Slim, nor is it impossible to acknowledge the element that the Workers bring to the equation on the varied Bull Goose Rooster.

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