FAME Review: Joe Louis Walker - Hellfire
Joe Louis Walker - Hellfire


Joe Louis Walker

Alligator Records - ALCD4945

Available from Alligator Records.

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

This San Francisco based bluesman, on Alligator Records, has unleashed another of his blistering discs that burn with an intensity that is fueled by his absolutely searing guitar work. Although the question may be asked, "Is it the searing guitar work, the impassioned songwriting, or the singing that reaches into the soul that fuels this performers fervor?" Joe Louis grew up in San Francisco in the 60s influenced by traditional musicians such as Mississippi Fred McDowell, Ike Turner and Albert King playing at the Matrix Club where he often was the opening act, and, at the same, time the Psychedelic Revolution and its music were being unleashed upon the world by such players as Steve Miller, Bob Weir, Paul Butterfield and Sly Stone, with its extended solos and long jams. He took all these lessons in and somehow came up with a sound that is uniquely his and very solidly rooted in the blues world.

There are eleven songs on the disc and Joe Louis Walker either wrote (3) or co-wrote (4) seven of them. Tom Hambridge is the producer and he also plays drums and percussion on the disc, as well as co-writing five of the tunes. Walker's music has two main influences, gospel—he played with The Spiritual Corinthians from 1975 to 1985—and Michael Bloomfield who he shared an apartment with for years, and he says he can still feel in his playing. While he was concentrating on gospel he earned degrees in English and Music from San Francisco State University. In '85 he was playing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with the Corinthians and decided he wasn't going to limit himself to gospel with all the R & B, Blues and rock music being played all around him. He is an exceedingly accomplished player who no matter the music plays it with his soul naked for the world to see. Fiery and searing guitar work are combined with heart felt vocals make him a sure fire winner.

Track List:

  • Hellfire
  • I Won't Do Thay
  • Ride All Night
  • I'm On To You
  • What's It Worth
  • Soldier For Jesus
  • I Know Why
  • Too Drunk To Drive Drunk
  • Black Girls
  • Don't Cry
  • Movin' On

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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