Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel
Reviewed by Scott Schinder, Fri., July 26, 2013
Bobby Whitlock & CoCo CarmelCarnival (Live in Austin) (The Domino Label)
An Austin resident since 2006, Bobby Whitlock remains best known for his early-Seventies stint with Eric Clapton's seminal Derek & the Dominos. Yet the singer-keyboardist-guitarist's blues-steeped solo efforts from the era and extensive resume as a songwriter and sideman define him as a world-class talent, and his more recent work with wife CoCo Carmel demonstrates that Whitlock's skills remain fully intact. Although the pair first hit the local scene as an acoustic duo, Carnival finds them tearing it up with a band that includes local axe hero Jeff Plankenhorn, whose fiery immediacy is well-matched with Whitlock and Carmel's vocal fireworks. The scrappy 11-song set features righteously raucous revivals of five Dominos classics – six if you count an epic take on Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing," which the band covered – plus such memorable recent tunes as "River of Life" and "Devil Blues." Offering a compelling evocation of Whitlock's talent, Carnival functions equally well as an update or an introduction.