Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JOE LOUIS WALKER

WITNESS TO THE BLUES

2008-12-02

With a long and storied career that has included stints with John Lee Hooker, Thelonius Monk, Steve Miller, Jimi Hendrix and others, singer/guitarist Joe Louis Walker has had the opportunity to soak up lots of influences which he shows off on this disc. Joined by numerous guests including Duke Robillard (guitar), Bruce Katz (keys), Doug James (sax) and Shemekia Copeland (vocals), Walker lays down some horn driven funk, "It’s a Shame", rockabilly, "Midnight Train", jazzy ballads, "Witness", blues filtered through the Rolling Stones, "Rollin’ & Tumblin’", acoustic blues, "I Got What You Need", harmonica driven shuffles, "Sugar Mama", and bluesy torch songs, "Lover’s Holiday". As if this diversity isn’t enough, the call and response of "Keep on Believin’" allows Walker to revisit his gospel days while the salacious "100% More Man" puts him firmly at the other end of the righteousness scale with the saucy lyrics made all the more potent by a smoking slide guitar that would have Muddy Waters grinning. Each of these cuts is delivered by Walker with a voice that evokes comparisons to Buddy Guy when he’s having fun and John Hiatt when he wants to get gruff. But, Walker doesn’t have to sing a word to take you on a musical journey: "Highview" is an instrumental scorcher that gives Walker and Robillard a chance to jam on guitars and Katz a chance to get the pot boiling at full steam with his scorching b3 breaks. Worthy of much play! Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.