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Some music you can't learn. Sure, you can learn to play an instrument, but how do you translate that into music? Some music, you have to be born with something inside of you to be able to play. Ol' Too Slim (Tim Langford) has that something. I won't say he comes out with both guns blazing, but that's only because he does more than just rock out on Shiver. He boogies, as well. And funks. And a whole bunch of other things.

With a pea-gravelly voice a bit reminiscent of Dr. John in his early days, he drags us into a world more at home in New Orleans or the Southern swamplands than the Pacific Northwest. It is bar boogie blues with a touch of eerie when it isn't outright ball-busting, and when it is, it busts balls.

The Taildraggers are two, Slim is one, but thanks to the production acumen of Conrad Uno (The Young Fresh Fellows, Mudhoney, Supersuckers), guest vocals by Curtis Salgado and Duffy Bishop, and a horn section (The Texas Horns), Too Slim and crew crank out much more than three-man boogie. They crank out swamp gas, razor-edged guitar and attitude. You can tell just by the titles: Stoned Again, Daddies' Bones, She Sees Ghosts, Shiver. These ain't your run-of-the-mill tunes, sports fans. These are soulful, rough-edged tomes laid out Slim-style. Hear these in one night and you've heard a show.

What do they sound like? Like Salgado and Bishop on the songs on which they sing. Like a mix of Delaney & Bonnie and Dr. John on others, with a slight rockin' blues edge because of the brassy and sometimes downright crunchy guitar and the occasional horns. They even end the album with a fifties-sixties style instrumental, Bucerius, a musical look at tracks the AM jocks loved back in those days because they could fade them out so easily at news time. In this case, it's just pretty. 'Nuff said.

Man, Seattle isn't what it was when I left in '92. Back then, the music scene was just starting, having struggled through the eighties in spite of a scene deserving more attention than it received. It is more diverse and less stodgy and finally throwing off that shroud of grunge the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains laid on it. Hell, I'm jumping ahead of myself. I'm not sure these guys are from Seattle. Well, if they aren't, they should be. And if they are, they're helping lift that shroud. A little blues boogie can go a long way toward that end.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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