JOE LOUIS WALKERS BLUES CONSPIRACY
LIVE ON THE RHYTHM & BLUES CRUISE (with guests)
Dixie Frog (DFGCD8695)
Slow Down GTO, Ain't That Cold, You're Gonna Make Me Cry, Eyes Like A Cat, Ten More Shows To Pay, Born In Chicago, Sugar Mama, Tell Me Why, Poor Man's Plea, It's A Shame, 747.
Joe Louis Walker had a great time on the Blues Cruise in January this year when he recorded this live album with some of his favourite guitar players - Johnny Winter, Tommy Castro, Kirk Fletcher, Nick Moss, Paris Slim, Waltermelon Slim, Duke Robillard, Todd Sharpville, Kenny Neal, Tab Benoit and Paul Nelson. Also keyboard men Mike Finnegan and Mitch Woods appear alongside Kenny Neal and Watermelon Slim on harmonicas. Summing up the mood, Joe reckoned everyone left their egos at the door but some folks forgot. And that's what I like about this album. No point inviting a guitar player as a special guest if he isn't prepared to try a bit of healthy one-upmanship!
Walker opens proceedings with a stompin' down home piece of call and response called Slow Down GTO - a crowd pleaser with some neat touches on the organ by Mike Finnegan and a chance for Joe Louis to let rip on guitar and stamp his authority all over the proceedings. Johnny Winter comes in on slide for Ain't That Cold and swirls around Walker's vocals involving almost all of his trademark licks and hitting some notes only a dog should hear.
Duke Robillard and Todd Sharpville share the honours on Tell Me Why with Robillard playing in a fast and loose style reminiscent of his very first album while Todd, although tentative at first, breezes in with some cutting action. Kirk Fletcher plays his usual classy way - strong arm strutting without any hysterics on Lowell Fulson's Ten More Shows To Play then guitarists Paris Slim and Nick Moss get real nasty on a storming version of Nick Gravenites Born in Chicago. Paul Nelson is new to me but he makes his guitar swing on 747. He has a slightly wild, Mike Bloomfield-type approach, playing right up there on the high strings with tons of circular action but always coming down in the exact right spot providing one of the highlights, among many, of an album filled with the blistering dynamics of on-the-button blues guitar. You'll like this.
Review Date: October 2010