FAME Review: Joe Louis Walker Blues Conspiracy - Live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise
 
Joe Louis Walker Blues Conspiracy - Live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise

Live on the Legendary
Rhythm & Blues Cruise

Joe Louis Walker Blues Conspiracy

Stony Plain Records - SPCD 1353

Available from Stony Plain Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Joe Louis Walker comes from a deep immersion in trad blues and boogie woogie—highly influenced by such icons as T-Bone Walker, Meade Lux Lewis, and others—but, early on, he harbored a deep love for innovation and improv, obtaining further schooling on-stage from Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Thelonius Monk, Steve Miller, and others. He then met, befriended, and became roomies with Mike Bloomfield. All of these had a profound effect on his style—well, that and the fact that the Fillmore and Haight-Ashbury were his home away from home (the young Walker attended school nearby). His last album, Witness to the Blues, was voted one of the top releases of the year by DownBeat crits, and this one shows why but in a fierily funky live setting a bit more spontaneous than the studio gigs.

Walker spent time, after Bloomfield's death, in a gospel group while studying music and English, and those days show clearly, weighted with an effusive black church ambiance that jumps for joy while wailing in harmonious wistfulness. One of the signal marks this guy carries, though, above and beyond the spicy stomp and hipshake, are his solos, which are as often abstract and wild as they are jazzy and traditional. Thus, we see why Johnny Winter was easily persuaded to sit in, as well as Kenny Neal, Duke Robillard, Tab Benoit, Tommy Castro, and quite a few top drawer players.

Walker's voice is rough and raw, shot through with enthusiasm, and high energy, all the more bolstered when the brass section waltzes in to set up counterpoint. You may, brothers and sisters, feel the urge to holler and testify while listening to Cruise. Please do not repress this, as the Lord loves him a repentant sinner, he surely does, and Joe Louis Walker just kinda has that way about him, that tendency to provoke folk to set up a sweat and a cleansing.

Track List:

  • Slow Down GTO (Russo / Walker)
  • Ain't that Cold (Russo / Walker)
  • You're Gonna Make Me Cry (Deadric Malone)
  • Eyes like a Cat (Travis Phillips)
  • Ten More Shows to Play (Fulson / Walker)
  • Born in Chicago (Nick Gravenites)
  • Sugar Mama (trad / Walker)
  • Tell Me Why (Duke Robillard)
  • A Poor Man's Plea (Amos Blakemore)
  • It's a Shame (J.J. Malone)
  • 747 (Haskell Sadler)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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