On-the-one-hand, it's great that there are so many hot blues guitarists out there these days. On-the-other-hand, it's easy for a true master to become a needle in a haystack. That's what happened to Toby Walker for me. I've been hearing the the name for quite a while but have not actually heard the man. Fortunately that problem has been fixed!
Just Rolled In starts off with the Delta classic, Pony Blues. This cut previews how the entire collection will unfold; open with a smooth groove that sets a mood, let it cook for a bit, simmer in the pot slowly building the heat to a roiling boil and, just as you are afraid the chef is about to loose control, cut the heat back to you can savor again the basic underlying flavors. Damn, that's good!
This is a live recording. No, wait, it's an ALIVE recording. The same artful control and delivery that he uses in Pony Blues is evident in all the cuts, all the between songs patter (a treat in itself) and in the entire composition of the show.
And that's not all! One of the most distinctive versions of St. James Infirmary you can find. A clean, sweet version of Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin'. An absolutely stunning arrangement of Nobody's Fault But Mine that Blind Willie Johnson might not recognize but certainly would approve!
But wait! There's more! The originals on Just Rolled In are as strong as the covers. If you don't want to get up and strut when you hear Sundance Rag you must be dead. If Blame It On The Bass Player doesn't tickle your behind then you must deaf. Toby's word-painting is framed perfectly with Chasin' These Blues Away.
Did I mention the between song dialog? Toby is about the music first, that's obvious. But, if he weren't such a great musician he might have a career as a story-teller. Entertaining, funny and insightful, he will explain to you all about lyin', cheatin', stealin', thievery, murder and mayhem. And make you glad you heard the tale.
I'm so glad I have made acquaintance with the music and wit of Toby Walker. Perhaps one day I'll get to meet him in person. Until then, I hear he has 5 or 6 other CD's I should be looking for!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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