Now there's a name I haven't heard in quite some time. Without unnecessary snickers from my reading audience about my age, I remember listening to Pat Travers back in the late Seventies. My first experience was with 1977's Putting It Straight, a decent album, But the real kicker was the 1979 live album Live! Go for What You Know with Travers's essential, and kick-ass, recording of the Stan Lewis's number Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights). Fraggin' awesome, and it's still a staple of his live sets. Next came 1980's Crash and Burn which featured another party tune in Snortin' Whiskey (& Drinkin' Cocaine). Unfortunately, I don't recall keeping pace with Travers after that.
Fast forward 33 years and Travers is still going strong, releasing a new studio album, Can Do, on Frontiers Records. Honestly, after 30 years, Pat Travers doesn't sound any different. It's probably safe to say that Can Do is a return to those early roots and early albums. Travers cut his musical teeth and guitar licks, in his youth, on Jimi Hendrix, among others. But, fundamentally, Travers has always been a blues rock guitar player, indebted also to traditional rhythm and blues and boogie rock. All this flows from his equally classic 1957 Gibson Les Paul guitar, one of many choices, and his lightly raspy voice.
If anything, on Can Do, Travers sounds reinvigorated, as good as, or even better than, ever. Certainly, listening to Long Time Gone, Can Do, Dust & Bones, and the quite catchy Wanted, his songwriting skills are in fine form. Then pepper these songs with soul and groove of those blues licks and it's 70's deja vu all over again.
But these comments don't make Can Do some retro project, an aging musician trying to rekindle his youth or fondly exploring his roots. Blues infested rock never goes out of style. Frankly, if it weren't for the blues, we wouldn't have rock n roll. Travers simply has the knack to make blues hard rock accessible, relevant, and entertaining in any decade. Other notable blues dripping tracks include Red Neck Boogie, Armed & Dangerous, and Travers's curiously entertaining and addictive interpretation of Eurythmics's Here Comes the Rain Again. Can Do is quintessential Pat Travers and easily recommended.
Can Do is quintessential Pat Travers doing his highly accessible and entertaining blues hard rock. Easily recommended.
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