Joe Louis Walker
Everybody Wants A Piece
Since first seeing Joe Louis Walker (JLW) up close and personal on a bandstand in California back in the early 1990s, I've been a pretty big supporter of the immensely-talented bluesman.
That experience, however, also led me to believe for many years that the only true way to fully absorb all that JLW was laying down was in a live concert setting. His albums were certainly sturdy enough, but somehow they just didn't deliver the real-deal JLW experience that I remembered from that night in Sacramento.
Thankfully, my opinion of his studio output has softened considerably over the past few years, as the Blues Hall of Famer has issued a trilogy of albums that have managed to highlight all those wonderful things that I remember about seeing him burn up a bandstand for the first time.
His latest album -- Everybody Wants A Piece (Provogue) -- is the crown jewel in that series that began with 2012's Hellfire and carried on with last year's Hornet's Nest.
This is JLW doing what JLW does best, offering up a bluesy smorgasbord that never threatens to bore. The album moves from hard rock to deep funk to moving gospel to gritty blues at a whim.
Long heralded as a guitar-playing firebrand, JLW doesn't shy away from that tag one bit on Everybody Wants A Piece, starting with the chunky title track. Then, there's the jaunty, piano-driven sing-a-long of "Buzz On You," the funky "Wade In The Water" and the wah-wah fueled "Witchcraft."
A personal favorite is JLW's take on "One Sunny Day," a tune from the catalog of the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.
Produced by Paul Nelson -- who was Johnny Winter's right-hand man for many years, playing guitar and producing albums for the late icon -- Everybody Wants A Piece is filled with all the passion, precision and emotion that I vividly still remember from that summer evening at the Crest Theater, seeing JLW for the first time of what has now became a near-dozen shows.
Everybody Wants A Piece has most definitely held up to multiple spins and I see no reason for that to change anytime soon.
For more on Joe Louis Walker, visit www.joelouiswalker.com.