Various Artists

Medicine Show, Vol. 2: A Benefit for the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Chair

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This is the second tribute to the legacy of Dr. Tommy Commeaux in what will hopefully become a continuing series. First and foremost is that these discs are filled with fantastic music. They also showcase these musicians enjoying themselves, playing for both the joy of playing and in banding together for a worthy cause, and to honor a friend that has been taken from them. Thirdly, they play in combinations of bands and friends that few people will ever see outside of a get together like this. As an example, this is the first recorded effort of the Traiteurs, a Sonny Landreth, Al Beard, and Errol Verret-driven band, and Michael Doucet sits in on fiddle. Dr. Tommy Comeaux was a fine musician, a good pathologist, and a compassionate and friendly human being. This is the way of the people in the Lafayette musical community to come together to remember the good times they had with him as their friend and to continue his outstanding work. There is a love and joy here that is not often felt on recordings. There is not a weak cut on this disc and its 55 plus minutes is definitely not near long enough and just leaves the listener begging for more. This is an opportunity to hear the wonderful interplay and respect these musicians have for their music and for each other. Listen to the wonderful music that is available by these various combinations; Steve Riley is here, not with the Mamou Playboys (though many are present) but with Friends. Also groups such as Doucet, Landreth, and Newman form for the night and then Big Pecan & the Assorted Nuts gives us some fantastic big band boogie. The Beans pop up with one of the best jams put down since the heyday of the Dead with their inspired version of "We've Been Runnin'/Cuckoo." The disc ends with a beautiful and heartfelt tribute written by Michael Doucet to his fallen comrade. It ends with the line, "Tommy, oh Tommy, so glad you've been set free." You don't have to have been there to feel the emotion in their hearts. There are very few copies of either of these discs left (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). If you want to hear what the folks from the Lafayette region are capable of when there is a greater cause than just playing good music (are there many?), give a listen here because the love, admiration, and esteem they have for their fallen comrade boosts them all to another plane that is infrequently heard, much less captured for a recording. It becomes an inspiration for what can be done when that "other" gear slips into place.

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