Now three studio albums in, the Tedeschi Trucks Band seem to have fully realized their status as one of the premier classic rock bands on the planet. Though, to be honest, calling the TTB a mere 'classic rock' act is probably doing them a disservice, as the band also hugely incorporate elements of blues, jazz, R&B, funk, folk, and soul into their vibrant, highly textured, melodic, and emotional music. Let Me Get By features a large ensemble cast alongside the husband & wife team of Derek Trucks (guitars) and Susan Tedeschi (vocals, guitar, keyboards), including Kofi Burbridge (keyboards, flute), Tyler Greenwell (drums), J.J. Johnson (drums), Mike Mattison (backing vocals), Mark Rivers (backing vocals), Alecia Chakour (backing vocals), Kebbi Williams (sax), Tim Lefebvre (bass), Maurice Brown (trumpet), and Saunders Sermons (trombone), along with special guest Doyle Bramhall II, who helps out with the writing as well guitars & backing vocals.
With such a variety of styles & flavors on display throughout Let Me Get By, it's easy to see the album appealing to a wide variety of music lovers, especially the upbeat funky pop tunes such as "Don't Know What it Means", "Laugh About It", and "Anyhow", each one a bright, catchy, example of how good song craft and expert musicianship can make a 'can't miss' song. Trucks & Bramhall II trade plenty of tasty licks throughout, but as always it's the sizzling slide work of the leader who steals most of the spotlight, continuing on with the legendary style that made him famous while working with the Alllman Brothers Band for so many years. The title track bristles with alluring grooves, as Kofi's electric piano, organ, and clavinet swirl around tasty Trucks licks, commanding horns, and Tedeschi's lovely vocal delivery, while the Beatles influenced ballad "Right on Time" allows for Mattison to share the vocal spotlight with Susan and really deliver a powerful performance. Southern rock, folk, and blues is all the rage on "Just as Strange", while the 8-minute "Crying Over You/Swamp Raga" again sees Mattison at the lead vocal helm on this breezy, melodic affair that eventually settles into a vehicle for flute, harmonium, and 12 string guitar. Tedeschi's stunning vocal permeates the lush "Hear Me", complete with intoxicating rhythms and yearning guitars, but then the band change gears for the boiling, funky blues rock of "I Want More", another groove laden number that is sure to find a home in the their live set with its rich vocal harmonies, horns, and sizzling guitars. For the closer "In Every Heart" the band blend jazz, blues, gospel, and pop together for a poignant, emotional ride that takes Let Me Get By off into the sunset.
This very enjoyable album comes housed in an intriguing box that is set up to look like a vintage guitar amplifier, complete with a thick booklet filled with photos, info, and lyrics, as well as a bonus CD with alternate mixes, covers, and live tracks. Their take on the late David Bowie classic "Oh! You Pretty Things" is a complete reinvention, as it's given a bluesy take led by Tedeschi's gorgeous vocals and Burbridge's piano, while the instrumental jam "Satie Groove" is a hot little gem of bubbling bass and understated slide licks. The live recordings from The Beacon Theatre are red hot, especially the scorching "I Pity the Fool" and a blistering take on the Derek & The Dominos classic "Keep on Growing", the latter featuring some killer guitar work from Trucks and special guest Los Lobos' David Hidalgo. It all adds up to one of 2016s early gems, an album that is bound to cement the Tedeschi Trucks Band as one of the hottest musical acts going today.
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2) Laugh About it
3) Don't Know What it Means
4) Right on Time
5) Let Me Get By
6) Just as Strange
7) Crying Over You/Swamp Raga
8) Hear Me
9) I Want More
10) In Every Heart
CD2 (bonus tracks)
1) Hear Me (alternate mix)
2) In Every Heart (alternate mix)
3) Oh! You Pretty Things
4) Just as Strange (alternate mix)
5) Satie Groove
6) Laugh About It (live at the Beacon Theatre)
7) I Pity the Fool (live at the Beacon Theatre)
8) Keep on Growing (live at the Beacon Theatre)