Joe Louis Walker has long been one of the best-kept secrets of the blues. That might be a fine thing for blues fans, but for a musician, being a secret is not where it’s at.
Walker cut numerous albums before his big launch with three albums for Verve. But the blues world is not an easy market, and Walker has since released several other albums on other labels, including In the Morning earlier this year on Telarc!
Walker has never been about just I-IV-V changes. His music has reveled in his own life and its broad influences, from R&B and blues to jazz and gospel. His vocals range from growling downhome blues to sanctified testifying, a testament to his time singing with the Spiritual Corinthians from 1975 to ’85. This is backed by a solid musical understanding, giving him power to venture out past the limitations of playing the same old blues every time.
This new album hits you where it counts. It’s a large, full sound made by a big, tight band. Walker’s guitar is backed by a Hammond B3, sax-and-trumpet horn section, and the usual rhythm setup. Together, they create blues with power.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Sep. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.