Blues Calendar Blues - Joe Louis Walker

Happy Cinco de Mayo. I was sick as a dog yesterday and had to forego the First-Sunday-of-the-month blues post. But I’m going to catch up today.

One of the cool things about doing these blues posts is that I sometimes come up on an artist I didn’t know about. Joe Louis Walker is one of those. Walker was born in 1949 in San Francisco. He came from a musical family, first picking up a guitar at eight years old amidst the early influences of T-Bone Walker, BB King, and Pete Johnson. “Over the years Joe Louis Walker managed to come up with an outstanding guitar style,” according to his bio on the Bay Area Bands Web site. “One just needs to hear his guitar and knows it’s Joe Louis Walker.”

By 1968, Walker had forged a close friendship with Mike Bloomfield; they were roommates until Bloomfield's death in 1981. This event was the catalyst that forced Walker into an immediate lifestyle change. He left the world of the blues and enrolled himself at San Francisco State University, achieving a degree in Music and English.

From the calendar:
A native of San Francisco, which is better known for nurturing psychedelia than roots music, guitarist and singer Joe Louis Walker has followed an unlikely road to fame. After a disappointing decade of playing local rock and blues clubs in the sixties, Walker took a breather in Vancouver returning to California in the early seventies to finish high school.

When, inevitably, he returned to music, it was not to the blues but to gospel. During a 1985 visit to New Orleans with the Spiritual Corinthians, Walker opened the third chapter in his musical biography. He was smitten by Mississippi Delta blues and considerable broadened his range by studying the great early masters Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. But he says it was church music that saved him: “I like to keep my feet in gospel because it’s pure.”
The calendar notes offer Live at Slim’s volumes 1 and 2 as suggested listening. I wasn’t able to track those down, unfortunately, but tracks are streaming on JLW’s MySpace. You can also check there for upcoming shows – he’s playing a few Chicago dates before a swing through New York, and then heading off to Italy in July.

Nobody Wants to Know Ya.mp3
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles cover).mp3
My Judgment Day.mp3
Dust My Broom.mp3
Heart of Stone (Rolling Stones cover).mp3

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