Joe Louis Walker – Playin’ Dirty

13,50 9,68


Not yet old enough to be an 'old master' Joe Louis Walker is in transition. So what better timing for an album that's a raw, blasting blues set. It was recorded in the old fashioned way - live, with Joe's amp turned up and groove and 'feel' being paramount. Joe himself overdubbed a little - some extra guitar, funky piano and harmonica. Frustrating though it is there is only one way to get real music and that is real musicians playing together in a real studio. The album was recorded in Paris at a time when Joe was considering exile. Exile from a blues scene where the copyist is lauded; where a publicist is needed for coverage in specialist magazines; where the big labels seem to have given up on this music; where an artist like Joe is lumped in with the local bar band. But Joe's a fighter - he's back and he's on his way up again. In nearly thirty years of touring, promoting and recording blues artists I'd say that Joe stands with the greats. And I've worked with Buddy Guy, Professor Longhair, Roy Brown, Lowell Fulson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Champion Jack Dupree and Larry Garner. So ... Joe re-works the old warhouse 'nobody wants to know you when you're down and out' into a modern funky opus that might just become his contemporary theme - it's sung from the heart and is aimed at - who' Of course Joe always brings new material to the table; Woman Was Made To Be Loved is a wonderful slow blues with telling lyrics and Juicy Fruit is in the grand tradition of 'bragging'. What lesser artists call 'covers' are all well chosen and re-worked to mould them to Joe's style and talent. And if you wonder why an old rock 'n' roll warhorse is here, it's a framework for a rave up session on the guitar. Hot stuff. And the acoustic instrumental closer reminds us that Joe's roots are firmly in that acoustic tradition. Get a few people from the 'blues business' together and talk soon turns to who is going to be the next top name. Joe's is one of the first names that always crops up.

Track Listing:
1. Nobody Wanta to Know Ya - 7:52   2. Barefoot Rock - 6:02   3. I Got Loaded - 3:59   4. Poor Man Plead - 3:57   5. Woman Was Made to Be Loved - 5:31   6. Pickin' the Blues - 2:53   7. Ain't It Nice to Be Loved - 5:07   8. Juicy Fruit - 4:52   9. Ready and Able - 3:25   10. From the Projects to Paris - 4:08

Joe Louis Walker (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano) , Jimmy Oz (guitar) , Asmus Jensen (drums)


1. AllMusic - Hal Horowitz
Although the contemporary blues genre can often seem predictable, Joe Louis Walker seldom has been. That has made him one of the freshest and most exciting and volatile players on the scene. Those are also the attributes of this 2006 release, recorded in Paris, which twists and turns just when it seems to be settling into a groove. Blues fans who demand consistency probably should explore elsewhere as Walker shifts from the edgy, swamp-laced "Nobody Wanta to Know Ya" (a thin rewrite of the classic "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out") to joyous covers of rock & roll oldies "Barefoot Rock," "I Got Loaded," and Fats Domino's "I'm Ready" (inexplicably titled "Ready and Able"). Walker sounds like he's having a blast, too, especially as he overdubs himself on harmonica and guitar during a slicing slide solo on "Poor Man Plead." He shifts into shuffle style for Elmore James' "Pickin' the Blues," a blazing Freddie King-inspired instrumental. On the slow blues of "Ain't It Nice to Be Loved" he overdubs himself again, this time on piano, then picks up the pace for the jump blues of Rudy Greene's swinging "Juicy Fruit," another track where he lays down multiple guitar parts to impressive effect. The closing jaunty unplugged solo instrumental is the disc's only acoustic offering and shows he's just as accomplished in raw Delta mode. But it's Walker's powerful gospel and soul-infused vocals that make him so unique. He's an underrated singer whose distinctive, soulful voice is the glue holding these songs together. While some might prefer more originals next time out, Walker's covers on Playin' Dirty are loose and vibrant. The result is a blazing set that shows him to be one of the finest and most overlooked artists in contemporary blues.

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