“Live From El Paso”
811 Gold Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © November 2020
Perhaps you know of Laura Tate from having heard some, or all, of her previous four releases; perhaps you know of her from having seen some, or all, of the dozen or more TV shows and movies she’s appeared in; perhaps you were in the audience at some of her many off-Broadway shows, as well as other theatrical performances in theaters around the country; perhaps you know of her from having seen some of the many videos and documentaries she has directed; perhaps you know of Laura Tate from being the philanthropist who was acknowledged with awards by Presidents Bush and Obama; and by now, perhaps you’ve caught my drift.  If there were anyone in the entertainment industry who can say “Been there, done that”, Laura’s your lady.
“Live From El Paso”, Laura Tate’s fifth release, was recorded at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater as a benefit for her Laura Tate Fund for the Arts in the El Paso Community Foundation. The disc includes a dozen of Laura’s favorite songs and, since many of them have performed on her previous releases, some of her favorite musician’s, as well. Joining lead vocalist Laura Tate are: Terry Wilson on bass and vocals; Teresa James on vocals; Doug Hamblin on lead guitar; Jeff Paris on piano and vocals; Tony Braunagel on drums; Joe Sublett on saxophone; Lee Thornburg on trombone; and Darrell Leonard on trumpet.
“I’ll Find Someone Who Will” is rarely a sentence in itself because the words are usually preceded by the threatening ‘if you don’t…..”, “if you can’t…..” or “if you won’t…..”. Basically, it’s pretty much the ultimate ultimatum statement. In this particular case it’s Laura sassily letting an obviously cheating man know that if he can’t stay home with her – that’s right – she’ll find someone who will. This blues rocker was written by band mates Terry Wilson and Teresa James (The Rhythm Tramps) and was originally done by Coco Montoya on his “Hard Truth” album. With Tony and Terry setting the powerful rhythm pace on the drums and bass, and the horns all blowin’ heat with scorching sax leads by Joe, this one’s all about the rhythm.
Wasting no time at finding someone who will, and creating a perfect segue as well, “I Need A Man” (Deitrick) shows us that Laura is a woman of her words. Sounding like a sultry jazz lounge singer belting out a bluesy ballad with flirtatiously sung seductive lyrics, Laura could very well be at disc’s best on this one. Making it work musically, the guys are in that jazz combo mood as well. The dreamy rhythm behind Doug’s delicate guitar leads, Jeff’s tantalizing piano highlights and Darrell’s sizzling trumpet leads are all nothing other than masterful.
As the title my indicate, “Still Got the Blues” (Harker/MacCleod) is the most traditional blues track of the lot. It’s a steamy blues ballad that’s right in Laura’s wheelhouse. Everyone who has ever read a review of mine knows that I’m a sucker for songs like these from female singers – and this is exactly the reason why! Great laid back rhythm, soothing horn and piano leads and just the right amount of sting from the blues guitar leads. Good stuff!
The pace quickly picks up on a dance floor filler called “What A Way To Go”
(Harker/Schunk). At barely over three minutes, there was plenty of time for a few smoking piano and guitar leads and at the pace Tony and Terry were banging out on rhythm, more than enough time for those dancers to break a sweat.
Now I’m not exactly sure if the layout at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater is compatible with dancing in the aisles or if the venue even welcomes any type of boisterous carrying on, but I do know that “Big Top Hat” (Bruton) could pretty much turn any venue into a bawdy Texas roadhouse. The scene I’m imagining is a bunch of line dancing, short-shorts and boot wearing cowgirls, hootin’ and hollerin’ and all chiming in with perfect harmony to the “You can kiss my ass till my hat falls off” line….just as Laura and Teresa are doing. Musically, with all the excellent solos and individual highlights going on, this one is hands down the disc’s best track.
The concert comes to an end with an original track by band mates Terry Wilson and Jeff Paris titled “If That Ain’t Love”. Like they’ve been doing for the for the last fifty minutes, Laura and Teresa are killing it on the lead and backup vocals and the whole band, this time with fabulous guitars leads from Doug, are amazingly tight. The one thing I found to be missing from this track was the thunderous ovation and chant’s for more from the crowd as it came to an end. That was obviously edited out because a show this impressive does not end without it. Great performance.
Other tracks from “Live From El Paso” are: “No Place To Hide” (Harker/Schunk); “The Boys Are Back In Town” (PLynott); Hittin’ On Nothing” (Neville); “Can’t Say No” (Wilson/Raven/Watts); “Nobody Gets Hurt” (Bruton/ Anderson/Vaughan); and “Cowboy Jazz” (Harker/ Marshall).
To find out more about Laura Tate just go to her website – www.musicbylauratate.com.  Wherever you go and whomever you talk to, please tell them the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient