Too Slim & the Taildraggers

Tales of Sin and Redemption

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With albums such as El Rauncho Grundgé, King Size Troublemakers, and Rock 'em Dead already in their catalog, it would seem that Spokane's most revered blues-roots rockers would have more sin than redemption on their minds. But this disc's title accurately describes its contents, which find guitarist/vocalist Tim "Too Slim" Langford dipping into both concepts with equal ferocity. His sly, whiskey-tinged vocals and lyrical yet blunt guitar can't help but be compared to early, pre-MTV fame ZZ Top, especially when he's getting lecherous on "Oven Burning Woman" ("she really likes my wood"), the self-explanatory, double entendre "Broad Minded," and "Some Kinda' Momma" ("I'd like to make a momma outta you," he snarls). While this reads as misogynistic fare, Too Slim, like Top's Billy Gibbons, sings with such a sly, self-deprecating grin, it's impossible not to get caught up in the good-time vibe. On the redemption side is "Walk on Water" that recalls Slim's alcoholic past, the cautionary "Mississippi Moon," where Slim gets scared straight after being chased by the devil's hounds, and "Soul Perspective," where he sees the light and finds his clear "soul perspective." There's no preaching involved as Slim sings the redemptive songs with a leer similar to the sinner ones, leading his rugged two-piece through stripped down, raw, blues rocking licks as if he invented them. While subtlety is not generally a word associated with this outfit, nothing is overstated, either musically or vocally as Slim moseys through the songs with a low-key yet contagious lackadaisical charm that's consistently endearing. He never overplays his guitar either, sort of an anomaly for a three-piece rock band, preferring to let the tunes speak for themselves which they do quite well, even eloquently. The closing five-minute "Too Cool," the disc's only instrumental, is a lightly swinging jazz/blues vamp that shows Slim's guitar chops can easily slot into less strident fare. Whether it was the salvation he found in life, or just getting older, Slim balances his two sides with equal proficiency, making this one of his most fully realized releases out of an impressive catalog of swamp rocking fare.

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