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Benjamin Booker delivers a Big Easy attitude in his debut album

3.5 out of 4 stars

Benjamin Booker
Benjamin Booker
ATO Records

"New Orleans style is funky," Benjamin Booker testifies, in this month's GQ. "There aren't any rules … you gotta go there to really get it yourself, though."

The young punk-blues buck was talking about his suavely eclectic duds, but the Big Easy attitude extends to his brand of music, as offered robustly on his just-out debut album.

It's real grainy-throated, wild-thing stuff, with fuzz pedals used as buzz saws and a southern-fried swamp-boogie manner influenced by the diverse likes of Blind Willie Johnson, the Gun Club and, perhaps, his label mates Alabama Shakes.

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Booker, who toured with Jack White this summer, mixes heavied-up Chuck Berry riffs with retro-mod organ moves, thumping drums, grimy guitars and musings on lost sons and a slow-coming future. Like his clothing, his sound is hip but old. He went there. He got it.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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