Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Live On The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise reviewed by Steve Jones

Live On The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise
Joe Louis Walker’s Blues Conspiracy
Stony Plain Records
11 tracks

Joe Louis Walker has had a huge year in winning awards and gaining recognition in the blues world.  This live CD cements that legacy and gains him even more notoriety with this gaggle of all-stars and he blasting through a very nice set of fun songs.  The guest musicians include on guitar Johnny Winter, Duke Robillard, Tommy Castro, Tab Benoit, Todd Sharpville, Kirk Fletcher, Nick Moss, Paris Slim and Paul Nelson.  Kenny Neal, Jason Ricci and Watermelon Slim are on harp, Mike Finnegan on organ, Mitch Woods on piano, Deanna Bogart and Keith Crossan are on sax, Tom Poole on Trumpet, and Curtis Salgado and Mike Finnegan on vocals on “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry” (which is soulful and outstanding).

This CD is basically a blues party.  Recorded live on January’s Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, Walker and his band were joined by the above all-stars and turned in an electric performance.  His vocals are gritty and superb.  His guitar work and the sound of guitars of the guests are out of this world as are the harps and other soloists.  Highlights include Johnny Winter’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre guitar attack on “That Ain’t Cold”,  Salgado’s mournful wail, Castro/Bogart and other cruise regulars on “Eyes Like a Cat”, Fletcher and Walker’s guitar duet on “Ten More Ways to Play”, Ricci’s stratospheric harp on  “Born In Chicago” (along with Nick Moss and Paris Slim blasting their frets off on guitar), Watermelon Slim’s harp on “Sugar Mama”,  Duke Robillard’s wonderful signature guitar work on “Tell Me Why”, Kenny Neal’s poignant harp on “A Poor Man’s Plea”, Tab Benoit's masterful guitar on “747” and the entourage work on “It’s a Shame”.

This is one of the better jam sessions recorded of late with a plethora of stars who are all playing their asses off.  If you like Walker’s work, this one is something you’ve got to buy.  If you are a fan of the guest artists, their solos alone will make you want to own this.  I’m sometimes not a fan of the general cavalcade of stars CDs that we often see released but this one is a super good one!

Reviewed by Steve Jones

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