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 (Butterfield 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.
Joe Louis Walker
2004 sees Joe Louis Walker with yet another label and new album. "New Direction" has been released 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 once again produced the album and has written all of the songs (co-writers include Jojo Russo, Ellis Blacknell Jr. and Robert Watson).
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