You might be tempted to say that Bayou City Blues author Roger Wood discovered Joe Doucet, but "discovered" is too strong a word. Doucet played the blues in Louisiana as a young man, but he got out of the music business when the disco craze hit in the mid-'80s. He was driving down a Third Ward street in 2004 when he saw Wood interviewing another musician. The story is that Doucet walked up and told Wood, "I can play that guitar you got." Houston's Third Ward Blues is proof that he can, in fact, play that guitar.
A collection of 14 tunes, many written by Doucet, Third Ward Blues is raw, honest and steeped in the echoes of swampland zydeco. With Doucet on guitar and vocals, Earl Gilliam on organ and piano, O.S. Grant on sax, Jackie Gray on drums and Fred Arceneaux on bass, Third Ward Blues is one of those rare recordings that capture the essence of a musician and his art form. Gilliam (now in his seventies) and Grant are Doucet's equals, matching him note for note, with Gray and Arceneaux giving them a solid foundation. On "Got You on My (Mind)," Doucet's raspy, worn voice and sweet guitar, along with Grant's fat sax, take you to a steamy juke joint where hearts are always broken. On "I Ain't Going Down," they remind you that you don't care if they are.
Roger Wood might not have discovered Joe Doucet, but we sure are glad he brought him to our attention.
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