Sixteen albums into a career that hasn't exactly made him a household name, even in his native Northwest, Tim "Too Slim" Langford not only seems reinvigorated but in 2011 released one of the finest albums in his extensive catalog. He reaches outside his trusty backing duo (new bassist Polly O'Keary joins for this set) to add horns (led by the esteemed tenor saxist Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff), organ, gospel backing vocals, and even singer/fellow Northwesterner Curtis Salgado to spice up these already sturdy songs. Perhaps being older and wiser has helped shift some of Slim's more womanizing, some might say banal, lyrics to substantial, even mature fare. That doesn't mean he's left his wildman ways behind entirely, as the opening funky rhythms of "Stoned Again" makes clear, but there is a more pragmatic sense of love and mortality that drifts through the words of "Inside of Me" and the Stevie Ray Vaughan "Cold Shot" shuffle of "As the Tears Go By" (not to be confused with the Stones' "As Tears Go By"). Through it all, co-producers Langford and Seattle veteran Conrad Uno keep the sound lean but not necessarily stripped down. Langford double- and occasionally triple-tracks his guitar, adding fullness to the already swampy blues-rock that remains his meat and potatoes. Blues singer Duffy Bishop guests on the title track, upping the rocking energy considerably and providing Langford's traditional growl with a female counterpart. Salgado is also a welcome addition, infusing his raw soulful voice to a simmering gospel ballad "Everybody's Got Something," resulting in one of the album's undeniable highlights. Langford's slide drives the blue collar concepts around "Workin'," then fades into the background as he lays into a terse, electrifying lead that captures the tune's driving vibe. The closing instrumental finds a lovely melody enhanced by congas and some of Langford's most restrained, subtle playing and shows just how diverse he has become as a musician, songwriter, and producer who understands the importance of space and dynamics. There's plenty of R&B-laced rock here, such as on the horn assisted "She Sees Ghosts," a song about his dog seeing spirits haunting Langford's house, and on "Can't Dress It Up," but the veteran guitarist has learned to use the studio well, keeping these performances crisp, exciting, and more sonically interesting than in the past.
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AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz