Tearing it up on the Road
Mitchell Lopate | Silverdale, WA | 03/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a rock 'n roll/R & B line-up, Edgar Winter's White Trash could melt
the competition with the "scorch-and-torch" blistering vocals of Winter
and especially, the rumble and growl of Jerry LaCroix. They first take it through the roof on the gospel-influenced "Save the Planet": both men compete in a lengthy "Lord (Lawd) knows!" sandpaper throaty duel, then LaCroix enthusiastically bounces back behind the horns and Bobby Ramirez's cymbal smashes to pull the crowd along and "Jive Jive Jive." That's followed by the sweaty, ballsy, and heartfelt urgency of Otis Redding's classic "I Can't Turn You Loose," and Jerry's pleading is as much from lust as love for that special woman.
Not to be upstaged, Rick Derringer pounds away to show that he's "Still Alive and Well," and turns Chuck Berry inside-out while flailing away on "Back in the U.S.A." What has become a personal family joke ("Where's your brother?") in the Winter family is unleashed as Johnny steps up to churn through a potent "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," a song originally best known by Derringer's former group, the McCoys. And then Edgar takes over--and absolutely broils the stage with "Tobacco Road," complete with scat vocals, demented hoots and shrieks, and a raging electric piano/guitar duel. To end this, the band relocates to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where I recall reading that the black audience initially turned and began to walk out when the band came out, fronted by the whitest man they could ever imagine (an albino) doing some funk--but "Cool Fool" proved immediately that Edgar was the former and any doubters were the second. Follow that with Stevie Wonder's "Do Yourself a Favor," some smoking horns, a hot wah-wah pedal guitar, and finally, Jerry urges everyone to "Turn On Your Lovelight" and makes it glow. Count this as one of the best live gigs of the '70s; a White Trash show was as valuable as a bagful of diamonds--and they could shine as bright."