Live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise
Joe Louis Walker's Blues Conspiracy
Stony Plain Records
Listening to Joe Louis Walker is like walking into a raucous blues club in Memphis. Or New Orleans. Or Chicago, for that matter. One of the best bets on the contemporary blues circuit, he earned his stripes playing the San Francisco scene during the '60s where he ran into the likes of Mike Bloomfield, the Grateful Dead, Hendrix, and a whole host of soon-to-be blues superstars.
If you haven't heard of him, this album is a good place to start. The album's title refers to one of those high seas blues cruises where everyone presumably consumes copious amounts of the three "B's"-booze, BBQ, and the blues. The treats begin with "Slow Down GTO," a song where Joe introduces superstar keyboardist and session-player extraordinaire Mike Finnigan. (Christ, the man played on Hendrix's Electric Ladyland!). Johnny Winter joins the fray on the next track "Ain't That Cold." And so it goes, with guest artists on every cut, from Duke Robillard to Watermelon Slim (on a devastating version of "Sugar Mama") and plenty of others. Joe Louis Walker is the real deal and comes highly recommended for your listening and riding pleasure.
Flashback | Album of the Month
Bridge of Sighs
So how long has it been since you've actually heard this one? Upon its release in 1974, a scant four years after Hendrix's death, many thought it was the second coming of Jimi. Robin Trower has had to fight the comparison throughout his career, but the truth is, for those still pining away for Hendrix (as many of us did), Trower's Bridge of Sighs was a great gift. Not only does he invoke Jimi's Stratocaster playing technique, but his vocals even manage to sound like him. Trower rose to prominence via his early band, the Paramounts, and more notably Procul Harum. And while there are worse things to be compared with, Robin rode the Hendrix compliments to fame. A listen to his other albums bear witness to the fact that indeed, Bridge of Sighs was his sound.
Listening to "Day of the Eagle," "In This Place," "Bridge of Sighs,"-actually the entire album, as every track is awesome-will instantly invoke a sense of déjà vu and bring a smile to your face (depending of course on what you were doing when you first heard the album). It's been remastered a few times, but the album just plain works as an extended listening session. The songs soar, swirl, and flow together and certainly make for great biker music, even if you're just sitting there in the saddle staring at the garage walls. If you gotta download it, download the entire thing!