Joe Louis Walker

 

Joe Louis Walker
Joe Louis Walker
 Joe Louis Walker is one of the most important blues stars. He is a very successful guitarist, singer and producer. Over the years Joe Louis Walker managed to come up with an outstanding guitar style. One just needs to hear his guitar and knows it's Joe Louis Walker. Another strength of Joe Louis Walker is his own original material.He is a talented songwriter and his blues and gospel-influenced lyrics belong to the best.

Joe Louis Walker was born in 1949 in San Francisco. His father and mother were really into the blues (T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Meade Lux Lewis, Amos Milburn, Pete Johnson) and under this influence 14 year old Joe started to play guitar. When he was 16 he left home and started answering guitar player ads in the paper. He became good friends with guitarist Mike Bloomfield (Butterfiel Blues Band) who introduced Joe to the Bay Area blues scene. Joe soon was opening for many blues acts - musicians like Earl Hooker, Freddy King, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Lowell Fulson, who also influenced his guitar style. A lot of people think that Joe started playing the blues in the mid '80s, but he was already gigging in the '60s! Other influencial musicans were R&B vocalists Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Bobby Womack and Otis Redding.

Around 1975 Joe felt that his lifestyle would lead him into serious trouble sooner or later. He decided to change his life. Music once again became his saviour and for the next 10 years he was singing with a gospel quartet, "The Spiritual Corinthians". The gospel helped Joe to get his life back on track and became a valuable musical experience. This influence can still be heard in Joe's music today. He also recorded one album with the Spiritual Corinthians in 1980 called 'God Will Provide'.

In 1985 at a performance at the New Orleans' Jazz and Heritage Festival with the Spiritual Corinthians, Joe finally decided to get back into the blues again. He returned to San Francisco and formed his group the Bosstalkers. In 1986 he released his first album, "Cold Is The Night." He would record four more albums with Hightone Records before changing to the Verve/Gitanes label (Polydor/PolyGram). With Verve he recorded several very well received albums, featuring many of the finest musicians around. Subsequently he won several W.C. Handy Awards for Contemporary Male Artist of the Year (1988 and 1991) and Band of the Year (1996) with his group Joe Louis Walker & the Bosstalkers. He also won the 1995 Bammy (Bay Area Music Award) for Blues Musician of the Year.

In addition to his solo albums Joe Louis Walker can also be heard on several other albums - supporting well known artists like B.B. King or James Cotton. Or he gives us his interpretation of songs by the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton or Nick Lowe (tribute albums). Sometimes he also produces albums for other artists.

Recently Joe Louis Walker has become very active again. Although his seven year deal with Verve Records ended, Joe managed to release four albums (!) within little over a year for several labels. No matter if he plays electric, acoustic or slide guitar, Joe is always keeping the high standards everyone expects of him. The year 2003 - being the Year of the Blues in the U.S. - shows Joe Louis Walker at his best. One of the hottest and most-respected names in blues.

"New Direction" has been released in 2004 on the Provogue label and Joe Louis Walker continues his musical journey. The album itself sounds fresh and Walker easily keeps his high standards. Joe Louis Walker again produced the album and has written all of the songs (co-writers include Jojo Russo, Ellis Blacknell Jr. and Robert Watson).

 

Joe Louis Walker's CD "Playin' Dirty" (2006) was once again released by JSP Records. This time Joe Louis recorded the album with only two other musicians in a studio in Paris (a few overdubs added later). The music was recorded in an old fashioned way and most important for JLW were the generated groove and feeling ... and you can be sure JLW knows his blues.

  After some troublesome times in Europe JLW returned to the USA again and continued to tour and play the blues with musicians like Henry Oden.

In 2008 Joe Louis Walker signed to Stony Plain Records and recorded his latest album "Witness To The Blues". The album has been produced by no other than the famous Duke Robillard and features the duet "Lover's Holiday" with the much celebrated blues singer Shemekia Copeland.Joe Louis Walker played on Shemekia's debut album "Turn The Heat On" back in 1998 and knew from the beginning that he wanted to do this duet with her.

The album features several songs written by Joe Louis Walker but also by artists like the late J.J. Malone ("It's A Shame") and traditionals like "Rollin' and Tumblin'" once performed by Elmore James. Joe Louis Walker once again recorded a wonderful mix of modern and traditional blues and none of the tracks sounds like a filler.

Joe Louis Walker is back again or as he sings "100% More Man" ... Blues Man we should say ... and wonder that eventhough he received so many awards and delivers such fine music again and again, so many people still don't know how great JLW's music is. Check out Joe Louis Walker's latest release as he is truly a witness to the blues - one of the greatest blues artists ever.

 

Discography Joe Louis Walker:

Cold Is The NightCold Is The Night
(Hightone Records 1986)
Cold Is The Night -- Ten More Shows To Play -- Moanin' News -- One Woman -- I Need Someone -- Brother Go Ahead And Take Her -- Fuss And Fight -- Gettin' Even -- Ridin' High -- Don't Play Games

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Henry Oden, Kevin Zuffi, Steve Griffith; plus: Patrick Moten, John Phillips, Eric Ajaye

The GiftThe Gift
(Hightone Records 1988)
One Time Around -- Thin Line -- 747 -- The Gift -- What About You -- Shade Tree Mechanic -- 1/4 To 3 -- Mama Didn't Raise No Fool -- Everybody's Had The Blues -- Main Goal

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Henry Oden, Jimi Stewart, Kelvin Dixon, Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love, Steve Berlin

Blue SoulBlue Soul
(Hightone Records 1989)
Prove Your Love -- Ain't Nothin' Goin' On -- T.L.C. -- Personal Baby -- Since You've Been Gone -- Alligator -- Dead Sea -- City Of Angels -- I'll Get To Heaven On My Own

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Terry Baker, Henry Oden, Eric Ajaye, Kevin Zuffi, Jimi Stewart, David Hidalgo, Melvin Booker, Donnie Boone, Dennis Broughton, Nancy Wright, Wayne Wallace

Live At Slim's Vol. 1Live At Slim's
Volume 1

(Hightone Records 1991)
I Didn't Know -- Moanin' News -- Don't Play Games -- Don't Mess Up A Good Thing -- Ridin' High -- Fuss And Fight -- One Time Around -- Don't Know Why -- Bit By Bit (Little By Little) -- Hot Tamale Baby

Recorded at Slim's, San Francisco, CA, November 9th & 10th, 1990

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Carl Schumacher, Henry Oden, Paul Revelli, Tim Devine, Jeff Lewis, Angela Strehli, Huey Lewis

Live At Slim's Vol. 2Live At Slim's
Volume 2

(Hightone Records 1992)
Don't You Know -- Thin Line -- One Woman -- Blue Guitar -- Shade Tree Mechanic -- 747 -- Just A Little Bit -- Brother Go Ahead And Take Her -- Love At First Sight

Recorded at Slim's, San Francisco, CA, November 9th & 10th, 1990

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Carl Schumacher, Henry Oden, Paul Ravelli, Tim Devine, Jeff Lewis, Huey Lewis

Blues SurvivorBlues Survivor
(Polydor/PolyGram 1993)
Help Yourself -- Shake For Me -- My Dignity -- Young Girl's Eyes -- Part Of Me -- Bad Thing -- You Just Don't Know -- Put You Down, Baby -- Blues Survivor -- Rainy Nights -- Workin' Blues

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Henry Oden, Paul Revelli, Mike Eppley, Tim Devine, Jeff Lewis; plus: Ed Early, Tony Mejivan, Richard Howell; The Spiritual Corinthians: Melvin Booker, Charles Williams, Rev. Michael Robinson

JLWJLW
(Polydor/PolyGram 1994)
I Can't Get You Off My Mind -- I Need Your Lovin' Every Day -- Rain On My Mind -- Inner City Man -- On That Powerline -- Hold On -- 12-Step Lovin' -- Alone -- Got To Find My Baby -- Lost The Will To Love Me -- Going To Canada

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Tom Rose, Mike Eppley, Henry Oden, Paul Revelli, Chris Spedding, Jimmy Destri, Jon Tiven, Kenny Aaronson, Steve Ferrone, Jeff Lewis, Ed Early, Tim Devine, Kimati Dinizulu; plus: Terry Adams, James Cotton, Angela Strehli, Brandford Marsalis; Tower of Power Horn Section: Greg Adams, Lee Thornburg, Emilio Castillo, Brandon Fields, Stephen "Doc" Kupka; The Uptown Horns: Larry Etkin, Arno Hecht, Richie Cannata, Crispin Cioe, Bob Funk; The Gospel Hummingbirds: Joe Thomas, Josh Lowery, Roy Tyler, James Gibson

Blues Of The Month ClubBlues Of The Month Club
(Polydor/PolyGram 1995)
Blues Of The Month Club -- You've Got To Lose -- Lost Heart -- Bluesifyin' -- Hidden Feelings -- Play'em Where They Lay -- Get It Right -- I'm Not Comin' Over -- Second Street -- Your Lyin' Eyes - Stree People

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Tom Rose, Mike Eppley, Tony Saunders, Curtis Nutall; plus: Steve Cropper; The Memphis Horns: Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love; The Spiritual Corinthians: Rev. Michael Robinson, Melvin Booker, Darren Tompkins

Great GuitarsGreat Guitars
(Polydor/PolyGram 1997)
Low Down Dirty Blues -- First Degree -- Mile-Hi Club -- Fix Our Love -- Every Girl I See -- Cold And Evil Night -- Hop On It -- Nighttime -- Sugar -- In God's Hands -- High Blood Pressure

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Mike Eppley, Tom Rose, Joe Thomas, Curtis Nutall; The Tower Of Power Horns: Emilio Castillo, Bill Churchville, Barry Danielian, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, John Scarpulla; The Johnny Nocturne Horns: John Firmin, Rob Sudduth, George Spencer, Marty Wenner; plus: Bonnie Raitt, Ike Turner, Scotty Moore, Little Charlie Baty, Steve Cropper, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Steve Gomes, Rob Stupka, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Taj Mahal, Robert Lockwood Jr., Wallace Colemann, Charles "D.C." Carnes, Richard Smith, Jimmy "Gator" Hoare

Preacher and the PresidentPreacher And The President
(Polydor/PolyGram 1998)
Preacher and the President -- Yveline -- Repay My Love -- I'm Not Messin' Around -- Y&T -- Lyin' In The Name of Love -- Pride Of A Fool -- Uhh! -- Tell The Truth -- My Real Fantasy

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Jimmy Johnson, Clayton Ivey, David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Joe Thomas, Carl Marsh, Chris Sandoval, Mike Haynes, Harvey Thompson, Jim Horn, Charles Rose, Tom Rose, Mike Eppley, Eddie Ramirez, Noel Catura, Steve Cropper

Silvertone BluesSilvertone Blues
(Polydor/PolyGram 1999)
Runnin' from the Devil -- Kenny's Barrelhouse -- Change My Ways -- Do the Walkin' -- Trouble on Wheels -- Letting Go -- Talk to Me -- Silvertone Blues -- Born in Mississippi -- Crying Won't Help You -- It's You Baby -- Bad Luck Blues
In The MorningIn The Morning
(Telarc 2002)
You're Just About To Lose Your Clown -- In The Morning -- Joe's Jump -- Leave The Girl Alone -- Where Jesus Leads -- Strange Loving -- Do you Wanna Be With Me? -- If This Is Love (I'd Rather Have The Blues) -- 2120 South Michigan Avenue -- Strangers In Our House

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, G.E. Smith, Andrea Re, David Maxwell, T-Bone Wolk, Steve Holley

Pasa TiempoPasa Tiempo
(Evidence Music 2002)
Sweet Thing -- Direct Me -- Barcelona -- I've Got Your Love -- It Hurts Me Too -- Love Like Blood -- Pasa Tiempo -- You Get What You Give -- You Can't Sit Down

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Wallace Roney, Barry Goldberg, Bob Hurst, Leon Ndugu Chancler, Master Henry Gibson; plus: Ernie Watts, Carla Olson, Phil Upchurch

Guitar BrothersGuitar Brothers
(JSP Records 2002)
Snake Bit -- Imitation Ice Cream Blues -- I Like It This Way -- Better Off Alone -- Friends -- I'm Getting Drunk -- Rude Women -- Regal Blues -- Bliss Street Blues -- I'm Gonna Love You

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Otis Grand, Chris Burns, Robert Watson, Clarence 'Starr' James Jr., Cash Farrar, Steve Long; plus: George Bisharat, Steve Griffith, Barrie Martin

She's My Money MakerShe's My Money Maker
(JSP Records 2002/03)
Slow Down GTO -- Poor Man Blues -- Ghetto Life -- Borrowed Time -- No Easy Kind Of Loving -- Slide Her Up And Down -- Born In Chicago -- My Judgement Day -- Hookers Blues -- Eight Years of Lovin'

Mucisians: Joe Louis Walker, Robert Watson, Geno Blacknell Jr., Willy Jordan

Ridin' High - LiveRidin' High - Live
(Hightone Records 2003)
Ridin' High -- Bit by Bit (Little by Little) -- Alligator -- 747 -- Thin Line -- Don't Mess Up a Good Thing -- Prove Your Love -- Blue Guitar -- I Didn't Know -- Personal Baby -- One Time Around

Best of Walker's Live at Slim's tracks on Hightone's Heritage Of The Blues series. CD includes three previously unreleased tracks. Recorded at Slim's, San Francisco, CA, November 9th & 10th, 1990

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Carl Schumacher, Henry Oden, Paul Revelli, Tim Devine, Jeff Lewis, Angela Strehli, Huey Lewis

New DirectionNew Direction
(Provogue Records 2004)
Do You Love Me? -- Custom Cars, Gibson Guitars -- Messed My Mind Up -- New Direction -- You Don't Love Me Girl -- Tempting Me -- Soldier For Jesus -- Mr. G's Boogie -- Ain't That Cold -- Lena

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Robert Watson, Carl Carter, Ellis Blacknell Jr.

Playin' DirtyPlayin' Dirty
(JSP Records 2006)
Nobody Wants To Know Ya -- Barefoot Rock -- I Got Loaded -- Poor Man Plead -- Woman Was Made To Be Loved -- Pickin' The Blues -- Ain't It Nice To Be Loved -- Juicy Fruit -- Ready And Able -- From The Projects To Paris

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker (vocals/guitar/piano/harmonica), Jimmy Oz (bass), Asmus Jensen (drums)

Witness To The BluesWitness To The Blues
(Stony Plain Records 2008)
It's A Shame -- Midnight Train -- Lover's Holiday -- Hustlin' -- Witness -- Rollin' & Tumblin' -- Highview -- I Got What You Need -- Keep On Believin' -- 100% More Man -- Sugar Mama

Musicians: Joe Louis Walker (vocals/electric, acoustic, slide and ratchet guitars/harmonica), Bruce Katz (piano/organ), Jon Ross (electric and acoustic bass), Mark Teixeira (drums/percussion), Duke Robillard (electric and acoustic guitar), Todd Shapville (electric guitar), Doug James ( baritone and tenor sax), Scott Aruda (trumpet), Shemekia Copeland (vocal)

 

DVDs

Live at On BroadwayLive at 'On Broadway'
(Blues Express 2001)
Your Lyin' Eyes -- Runnin' From The Devil -- In God's Hands -- Rainy Night -- Repay My Love -- Mile-Hi Club -- Bluesifyin' -- Yveline

Recorded: December 16, 1999 in San Francisco, CA

In ConcertOhne Filter
Joe Louis Walker in Concert

(inakoustik 2003)
I Didn't Know -- This Line -- The Gift -- Moanin' News -- Mama Didn't Rase No Fool -- Little Village -- Riding High -- One Time Around -- Don't Know Why -- Hot Tamale Baby

Recorded: June 3, 1991 in Baden Baden, Germany

 

Further Links:

  • Joe Louis Walker @ MySpace.com
        JLW's personal MySpace website!

  • Henry Oden
        Henry Oden recorded and toured with JLW for many years!

     

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