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Charles Walker -> Sippie Wallace

CHARLES WALKER Black Magic 9040 I'm Available ● CD $15.98
Nashville blues and soul singer.

CHARLES WALKER Zane 1019 Number By Heart ● CD $19.98
13 tracks, 59 mins, highly recommended
Superb new album of deep soul from veteran Nashville vocalist who has been plying his craft since the late 50s. There are ten new songs from various writers along with three carefully chosen covers. Walker's vocals are powerful and expressive and production by the talented Fred James is outstanding with horn driven instrumental work and soulful vocal backup. Among the highlights are the wrenching title song co-written by Walker, the hard driving One Man's Poison and a beautiful cover of Percy Sledge's It Tears Me Up written by Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham but it's all truly fine - not a dud in sight. (FS)

JIMMY WALKER Wolf 120 712 Small Town Baby ● CD $15.98

JOE LOUIS WALKER Blues Express 4001 Live On Broadway ● CD $24.98
DVD featuring 90 minutes of live performances including a 60 minute show at the Broadway nightclub in San Francisco.

JOE LOUIS WALKER Evidence 26126 Pasa Tiempo ● CD $16.98
9 tracks, 45 minutes, fair
Walker's musical journey has indeed been a long one, and with "Pasa Tiempo", he delivers his third recording for as many labels in 2002. His latest finds him in the company of a small band including Barry Goldberg's B-3 work along with too much muted trumpet from Wallace Roney, plus a rhythm section. Over the course of an entire CD, his voice can become grating, but thankfully, he refrains from falsetto histrionics. Unfortunately, what's here of interest to blues fans is far too little. He offers a fine instrumental version of It Hurts Me Too with plenty of solid slide work and a fair outing on You Can't Sit Down, but the remaining tracks are covers of Otis Redding, Van Morrison, John Hiatt, and Boz Scaggs. While Joe Louis Walker can certainly raise the temperature when playing blues, many will be left cold this time around. (CR)

JOE LOUIS WALKER Hightone HCD 8012 The Gift ● CD $11.98
Second album from one of the great blues finds of the last few years. Production on this one is little slicker than the first with a cleaner studio sound and use of The Memphis Horns on several tracks but the emphasis is on Joe's tough singing and powerful guitar playing. Although his playing is not particularly unique it is fiery and imaginative. Most of the songs on the album were written by Joe or by the bassist with his band the Boss Talkers, Henry Oden and often deal with the problems of urban life. Particularly good are Thin Line, the risqué Shade Tree Mechanic, and the soulful 1/4 to 3 (no relation to the U.S. Bonds song) with a rare example of Joe's splendid slide guitar playing. Occasionally the songs get a little preachilly moralistic as on the title song but they are generally good. (FS)

JOE LOUIS WALKER Hightone HCD 8019 Blue Soul ● CD $11.98

JOE LOUIS WALKER Telarc 83541 In The Morning ● CD $11.98
10 tracks, 53 minutes, good. Walker's long-term deal is over with Verve and his latest is an up-and-down affair. Just About To Lose Your Clown has modern funk underneath distorted guitar and while the title track begins strong, it's dragged into a bog with repetitive background vocals. Joe's Jump offers bristling guitar in short bursts and jazz flavors spice Leave That Girl Alone which steers aside for Where Jesus Leads, but Strange Loving shows Walker's grating falsetto vocals for a third time in six tracks. Do You Wanna Be With Me? gets soul treatment but lyrics lack an imaginative edge, something the guitar sports in spades and the irritating vocals spoil the Jimmy Reed-like If This Is Love. 2120 South Michigan Avenue is a loaded shuffle with churning licks and Strangers In Our Home is an acoustic offering, again with JLW's vocal histrionics, this time proving it wasn't needed anywhere else. (CR)

JOHNNY "BIG MOOSE" WALKER Evidence 26082 Blue Love ● CD $12.98

PHILLIP WALKER Delta Groove 115 Going Back Home ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 43 mins, highly recommended
After more than 50 years performing, Phillip Walker continues to deliver quality music with expressive soulful vocals and superb, but never flashy guitar and this new album is no exception. He is accompanied by solid group of West Coast musicians including guitarist Rusty Zinn, drummer Richard Innes, pianist Fred Kaplan, sax player David Woodford and others. The material is heavily dominated by covers but are carefully chosen to avoid over familiarity along with a few excellent new songs from producer Randy Chertoff. There are several nods to the down home blues of his youth with his cover of Lightnin' Hopkins Don't Think Cause You're Pretty, a couple of songs from his mentor Lonesome Sundown and the acoustic flavored Sweet Home New Orleans written by the harmonica player on this track Al Blake. Phillip's low key approach means that he probably doesn't get the attention of some of the more histrionic performers out there but he is assuredly one of the best. (FS)

PHILLIP WALKER MC Records 47 Live At Biscuits & Blues ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, recommended
While Phillip Walker might not be getting any younger, his guitar playing remains as taut and sharp as a man half his age. Recorded in front of an appreciative audience in San Francisco at a popular blues nightspot, there's a full band with a four-piece horn section in support. Walker's playing ignites from small embers into full-bore blazing attack and the mix of shuffles, slow blues, and soul-fused burners make for an entertaining set. Vocally, he's perhaps a step below some of his earlier work, but simply put, the man still delivers with all cylinders humming. (CR)

ROBERT "BILBO" WALKER Fedora 5005 Rompin' & Stompin' ● CD $15.98
Mississippi bluesman.

T-BONE WALKER Atlantic 8020 T-Bone Blues ● CD $9.98
15 tracks, 47 mins, essential
This compact disc features all of T. Bone's recordings made for Atlantic in 1955 (Chicago), 1956 & 1957 (both Los Angeles). This includes tracks not previously on LP along with what appears to be several previously unissued titles. T-Bone was in great form on these sessions and was accompanied by top session musicians like Plas Johnson, Earl Palmer, Lloyd Glenn, Eddie Chamblee, Barney Kessel and others. A couple of the tracks have a more down home feel with Jimmy Rogers/ guitar and Junior Wells/ harmonica - the latter gets to do a fine solo on the previously unissued T-Bone Blues Special. All these sessions were beautifully recorded and this comes over on this well remastered compact disc. This one is a must! (FS)

T-BONE WALKER BGO BGOCD 116 Funky Town ● CD $18.98
Repro of T-Bone's 1968 Bluesway session where he and producer Bob Theile tried to cash in on the youthful soul and rock market. The funk is a little obvious on cuts like Long Skirt Baby Blues, which mourns the passing of the mini-skirt. But Bone's deep musicality makes most of these 9 long tracks fun and worthwhile, including a boogaloo remake of his Party Girl. Also includes Goin' To Funky Town/ Why My Baby/ Jealous Woman/ Going To Build Me A Playhouse/ Struggling Blues/ I'm In An Awful Mood/ I Wish My Baby (Would Come Home At Night). (MB)

T-BONE WALKER Delmark 633 I Want A Little Girl ● CD $11.98
8 tracks, 40 min., recommended. Cut in 1968 and released on Delmark in '73, Little Girl is Walker's last great album. The blues pioneer finds himself in the company of a small combo of sax man Hal Singer, drummer S.P. Leary, pianist Georges Arvanitas, and bassist Jackie Samson. The whole disc has that 3 A.M. feel, and except on Leaving You Behind, no one is in a hurry. On Ain't It Cold, Baby T-Bone even trades his guitar in for a piano. Jazzier blues than some might like, but probably just the way Walker wanted, and beautifully recorded too. Pull up a smoke-filled room and have a listen. (JC)
T-BONE WALKER: Ain't This Cold Baby/ Baby Ain't I Good To You/ Feeling The Blues/ I Hate To See You Go/ I Want A Little Girl/ Late Hours Blues./ Leaving You Behind/ Someone's Going To Mistreat You

T-BONE WALKER Wounded Bird 6483 Very Rare ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 66 mins, recommended
Reissue of two LP set from 1973 featuring T-Bone's last studio recordings produced by Leiber & Stoller. Though T-Bone was not in the best of health by this time (he died two years later) and only plays occasional guitar his voice is still fine and the producers have made a fine effort to give him a worthy send off. He is surrounded by an incredible array of great blues, jazz and rock musicians including Charles Brown, James Booker, David "Fathead" Newman, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Bennett, Paul Humphrey and others plus vocal backup by the Sweet Inspirations on a couple of cuts. Rather than just reprising his most famous songs he is featured on some fine songs by Leiber & Stoller along with some excellent covers. Songs include Striking On You Baby/ The Last Clean Shirt/ The Come Back/ Don't Give Me The Runaround/ Person To Person/ Three Corn Patches/ Just A Little Bit/ Been Down So Long/ Kansas City/ Stormy Monday, etc. A few of the songs are over arranged but for the most part this is a very worthwhile album. (FS)

SIPPIE WALLACE Alligator 4810 Women To Be Wise ● CD $15.98

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