Friday, November 13, 2015

Edgar Winter's White Trash Introducing Jerry LaCroix 1971

Strange things go on in the vinyl reissue sector. There are quite a few live outings that have been released on vinyl only (some of questionable quality, others pretty darn good, but basically bootlegs), and loads of reissues of major- and minor- label "classics". There are many audiophile quality (read over-priced) versions of truly great releases (how many versions of Blood On The Tracks do you own?) And there are oddball anomalies. Sometimes you can find reissues of everything except the one great record by a band or performer. And maybe it has more to do with the ease of licensing a given record than the actual quality.

All that said, I was still surprised to see this record receive new reissued vinyl status recently. I didn't think it was all that big when it came out. I always liked a few choice cuts, but never thought of it as a strong record from start to finish. My copy is 45 years old, and it's got a bit more surface noise than ideal, but I'll discuss it because it sounds fine. When I saw that it had been reissued, I went to listen to it again, and discovered it in the primary stacks (some records don't fit in the stereo room), having never been moved to secondary storage, a pretty good sign for a record I bought new 45 years ago.

And the more I listen, the less surprised I am that it got reissued. It's not perfect or anything like that, but it is a special treat in several ways. LaCroix brings a gospel flavor to the recording that shines on Save The Planet and Give It Everything You Got. The band itself is a drums, bass, guitar rhythm section plus Winter's vocals, keyboards and sax and three more singer/horn players (including LaCroix). So you get these great back-up vocal choruses and a four man horn section, whatever you want for the song. The record includes Winter's classic, autobiographical Keep Playin' That Rock "N" Roll, and the soulful ballad Dying To Live. There's blues, gospel, soul, and that unique seventies horn-rock thing that Chicago, Tower of Power, and Ides of March did so well. If there's a down side, the lyrical content quality dips in a few places, and not every song works like the best of them.

That sounds like nit-picking even to me. I'm on my third recent time through it as I write this, and I just keep remembering more and more of what I like about it. It is definitely of more consistent quality than I had remembered. This is not the Edgar Winter of Frankenstein fame, and that's a good thing about it. A rock-hot soul stew drenched in horns. Coming strong out of Texas and Louisiana to a record player near you. Just in time for your holiday shopping.