By Kerry Dexter
(Note from VMB: Pictures used in this article are from a road trip that Ken and I made through Cajun country in 2006. Musicians are everywhere in Cajun country, although none of these musicians are directly related to Tab Benoit. However Kerry Dexter tells me that the wetlands picture at the top serves as a reminder that in addition to being a musician, Benoit is an activist in saving the wild lands of Louisiana. See Voice of the Wetlands.)
Louisiana–from the forests up north by Shreveport and Bossier City to the Great River Road at Baton Rouge to the rebuilding and thriving port of New Orleans, to the bayous, swamps, and wetlands of Plaquemines, LaFourche, and Terrebonne–is a crossroads of cultures, and of creativity.
That plays out in the work of Louisiana native Tab Benoit. Known as a top notch blues guitarist, he’s also a singer and songwriter who infuses his work with the spices of Cajun, jazz, soul, rock, and folk along with Delta and swamp blues.
Legacy: The Best of Tab Benoit would make a fine soundtrack for thinking about, learning about, and traveling to Louisiana. It’s a collection of fourteen tracks which mark high points of his recordings thus far. To get a flavor of Benoit’s style, give a close listen to
- Night Train, a Benoit original that’ll have you stomping your feet and singing along on this traveling song.
- I Put a Spell on You, a soul classic reworked with a tinge of bayou mystery and spookiness.
- Whiskey Store, a gut bucket blues about love.
- For What It’s Worth, the Steven Stills rock anthem with added lyrics to celebrate the heart and soul of the people of post Katrina New Orleans.
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