Friday, October 26, 2012

Phillip Walker Live at Biscuits & Blues

It has been a little over two years since Phillip Walker passed away. The Texas-born, West Coast based blues singer and guitarist came a long way from his days playing with Clifton Chenier, and then later Bruce Bromberg produced an album for Playboy Records. The following review appeared in the September 2002 DC Blues Calendar to which I have made a few minor stylistic edits.

Its been several years since Phillip Walker had an album under his name (even the Lone Star Shootout album he made with Long John Hunter and Lonnie Brooks is at least three years old). Walker has a new disc with his big band on MC Records, Live at Biscuits & Blues. This recording features his longtime working band augmented by a full horn section along with guest appearances by Charlie Musselwhite, Angela Strehli and Rick Estrin. 

Its a solid set, if not quite as good as Walker’s best studio recordings, Walker performs his own Hello My Darling, as well as Jimmy McCracklin’s Think, Harold Burrage’s Crying For My Baby, the classic Breaking up Somebody’s Home and Dennis Walkers Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark on which Walker performs a bit more grittier version than Cray’s original. 

Its nice to have a new album by Walker whose grainy voice and raspy guitar playing is a distinctive blues voice. Some of his best stuff is out of print or hard to find so even if this is not quite his best stuff, it will make due for his fans or others not familiar with this grossly underrated blues veteran. 

Here is Phillip in performance.

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