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Joe Louis Walker - Witness To The Blues

Witness To The Blues

Joe Louis Walker

Stony Plain Records- SPCD1337

Available from Stony Plain Records

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Joe Louis Walker presents us with a wide ranging overview of the blues on this, his first, Stony Plain Records release, and his first release in a couple of years and one of his best he has done in many ways. He is truly one of the most exciting and innovative blues artist working the clubs today and on this release he is paired with another guitarist in disguise as a producer, who comes close to Joe Louis' varied tastes and experiences, Duke Robillard. Robillard brings his years of playing with Roomful of Blues, which he founded, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds to the fore here as he takes the role of producer and contributes his tasty guitar to five of the eleven tracks of this very focused look at a variety of styles of the blues.

The music here reflects Walker's growing up in San Francisco (born in '49) and the wide range of influences that were available to him. It ranges from acoustic to horn driven material that sounds like it came right out of the Stax studio from back in the 60's, to hard edged blues powered by electric guitar and some very tasty slide guitar. His singing is superb through it all. reflecting the time he spent with the Spiritual Corinthians, after his roommate for years, Mike Bloomfield died, and including a wonderful duet with Shemekia Copeland. He is backed by a powerful group that includes Bruce Katz on piano and organ and Doug James on baritone and tenor sax. You might not know the name Joe Louis Walker now, however once you hear this disc you'll not forget it. One of the best out so far this year in the blues field.

Track List:

  • It's A Shame
  • Midnight Train
  • Lover's Holiday
  • Hustlin'
  • Witness
  • Rollin' & Tumblin'
  • Highview
  • I Got What You Need
  • Keep On Believin'
  • 100% More Man
  • Sugar Mama

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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