Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Blues for EB
Burnside 0028-2

With a name like Too Slim and the Taildraggers, itís hard to take this party-hearty trio seriously. And yet these guys from Spokane, Washington, are, in their own odd way, one of the most innovative bands on the road today. Theyíll mix their blues with just about any other good-rocking genre ó rockabilly, surf, swing, Cajun, polka ó you name it.

Their sound is raw and spontaneous, a little like George Thorogoodís first Rounder album, but itís a long way from rough. Guitarist Tim "Too Slim" Langford knows how to combine fun with finesse. The bandís fifth CD, Blues for EB is, perhaps, its most serious outing ó topically, that is ó with "Have to Let You Go" dealing with the tearful pragmatism that follows a friendís calling "to tell me you were gone," and with "My Load" and "Killiní Me" exploring, respectively, the lonely consequences of a troubled relationship and the burden of realizing you "canít go back to those simple times."

The title track is a Duane-Eddy-plays-Riviera-Paradise instrumental tribute to Wayne Eberspecher, a long-time fan of the band who died last year. On the other hand, Blues for EB blazes forward with a swinging "Uranium Rock," the Cajun-esque "You & Me," which features Langford on National steel guitar and electric slide guitar, and covers of Eddie Taylorís "Bad Boy" and J.B. Lenoirís "One More Shot." And then thereís "Dollar Girls," in which the protagonist wonders if the dancer in a club called the Egyptian Tomb "really likes me" or "is she doing it for money, does she think Iím a fool?"

"Tiger Love & Turnip Greens" is another Duane Eddy-inspired instrumental, this time wrapped in a frenzied polka. Clearly, Blues for EB isnít always a blues album, but if youíre looking for something different yet accessible, this is it.

ó Dave Ranney

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Boulder, CO, USA.