What's best about Best of the Bayou Blues
is Tab Benoit's spankin' electric guitar tones and lean 'n' nasty licks on numbers like the ode to Cajun living "Voodoo on the Bayou" and the stinging, vibrato-drenched epic "These Blues are All Mine." This collection of Louisiana-themed tunes plucked from Benoit's five early Vanguard albums relate to the singer-and-six-stringer's swampland raising. They also showcase his versatility--veering from his customary plugged-in blues framework to a gentle acoustic take on the Delta classic "Mother Earth" to a roaring zydeco romp through Clifton Chenier's dancehall anthem "Hot Tamale Baby." Willie Nelson guests on "Rainy Day Blues," trading vocals and blending his nylon-string guitar with Benoit's Telecaster. A brisk jaunt through Hank Williams's "Jambalaya" seems more lagniappe than main course, but when Benoit's guitar comes crying into the soulful, homesick "Nice and Warm"--which plays out like a page written in this road warrior's diary on an especially lonely night--he more than compensates for the few slights among these 15 tunes. --Ted Drozdowski
Comprehensive 16 track collection pulled from Benoit's Five Vanguard albums. ''What I like is he captures a real blues feel in his playing and singing, and adds a bit of Louisiana hot sauce on it.'' - Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top.