Friday, December 30, 2011

Phillip Walker Going Back Home

Its been way too long since Philip Walker had a new studio album. Delta Groove has just issued Going Back Home, that finds the Gulf Coast native and longtime West Coast bluesman in solid form. The strength of the disc is Walker’s characteristically strong vocals (with just a hint of sandpaper in his voice and his guitar playing which rock and swing at the same time.

Producer Randy Chortkoff has selected a solid backing band that includes guitarist Rusty Zinn, Jeff Turmes on bass (and sax for a few tracks, Richard Innes on drums as well as provided Walker with a diverse range of material from the pens of Percy Mayfield (the opening Lying Woman), Lowell Fulson (Mama Bring Your Clothes Back Home), Lightnin’ Hopkins (Don’t Think ‘Cause Your Pretty), his old friend Cornelius Greene aka Lonesome Sundown (Leave My Money Alone and If You See My Baby), Ray Charles (Blackjack), Champion Jack Dupree (Bad Blood), and Frankie Lee Sims (Walking With Frankie) along with several originals from Chortkoff (although Honey Stew is suggestive of a Lightnin Hopkins recording).

Eddie Snow’s Mean Mean Woman features an accompaniment derived from Junior Parker’s Mystery Train. The backing is a bit too upfront at times and the music loses some of its regional flavor with the somewhat anonymous groove. One wishes the rhythm section was not right on the beat at times such as on the two Lonesome Sundown blues where more of the laconic Excello groove would have been beneficial. The band might also have limbered up on some of the grooves of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Jewel Recordings at times.

These are still very good recordings, with Walker first rate throughout and his take on Blackjack, Leave My Money Alone, Bad Blood and Walking With Frankie are particularly outstanding, and if not a perfect date, there is still plenty to enjoy.

This review appeared in the April 2007 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 292) and my review copy was sent by either Delta Groove or a publicist for them.  

Here is the late Phillip Walker in performance.

1 comment:

Phil Wight said...

Phil Walker - one of my absolute favourite bluesmen, nd a really nice guy