Edgar Winter's White Trash biography
White Trash is a pure delight, the more so for its unexpectedness. Winter sings, writes, plays piano and sax, and works with a seven piece R&B group. This is his second album -- his first with his own group -- and on it he conveys as great a sense of personal style as any white bluesman on the scene today.
The sound of the band is loose and rangy in the best tradition of white Southern R&B (a la the best of John Fred and His Playboy Band) and Winter's singing is fully equal of it: he never stops at mere competence. On a quick listen some of the music could have easily been mistaken for Stax soul. But the difference is in the white gospel roots that both Winter and co-vocalist Jerry laCroix exhibit throughout the record. Up-tempo songs like "Save the Planet" and "Keep Playin' that Rock and Roll" are fine rockers but the guts of the album is in slow, semi-religious "You Were My Light." The latter is the highlight of the album: Winter sings flawlessly, first in front of his superb rhythm section, and then with a beautifully arranged and blended horn section. On the choruses the three elements come together with tremendous impact -- enough to blow me back listen after listen. The lyrics here, as throughout, are almost charming in their openness, directness, and simplicity. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the album is the emergence of Edgar Winter as an excellent songwriter.
At the peak of their frenzy, both Winter and laCroix cross over the gospel line and into pure shrieking and screaming. In the controlled doses they administer here, it is very powerful stuff. Such vocal techniques are easily misused, but like everything else on White Trash, Edgar keeps it under control and makes it work for him. The results are a revealing and exciting album -- hopefully, only the first of many more to come. It's the kind of record that makes you want to see the group perform. What higher praise is there for a new album by a new group?