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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Stony Plain Records artist: Joe Louis Walker - The Best Of The Stony Plain Years - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, The Best of the Stony Plain Years by Joe Louis Walker and it's killer. Opening with Eyes Like A Cat, a romping jump track, Walker shows why he is in such demand on guitar. A strong R&B style voice, Walker is joined by Bruce Katz on piano, Jesse Williams on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, Doug James on sax and Carl Queforth on trombone. One of my favorite tracks on the release, Highview written by Duke Robillard, is a deep down boogie track with unearthly, hair raising guitar tones and a trace of the likes of Ghost Riders. Robillard also throws his hat in with some striking guitar riffs complimented by Joe Ross on bass, and Scott Aruda on trumpet. Excellent track! Shuffle track Hustlin' with a nod to Don Nix has a real nice lope. Again excellent guitar riffs sit you back in your seat with your head bopping and your foot stompin! Katz lays down some really nice piano work on this track as well. Great! Black Widow Spider has a R&B feel and Walker leads the way as much vocally as on guitar. I'm Tide is a flat out rocker with break out blues/rock guitar riffs. Traditional blues track, Sugar Mama demonstrates Walker's capability as a cool harp player as well as singer and stinging guitarist with some really screaming harp riffs. Katz takes a real nice piano break on this track as well and Robillard adds some really smooth phrasing rounding out the sound. A low slung shuffle, this track is really hot. Mike Finnigan's Slow Down GTO is a nice party track featuring grinding vocals from Walker and a nice organ solo from Finnigan. Linwood Taylor adds texture on guitar, Kevin Burton on keys, Henry Oden on bass, Jeff Minnieweather on drums, Keith Crossan on sax, Tom Poole on trumpet and especially nice slide work from Walker. Ain't That Cold features Johnny Winter on slide with his signature sound. An easy shuffle with a solid bottom, gives Winter plenty of room to show why he's been on top for such a long time. You're Gonna Make Me Cry, a soulful ballad features Curtis Salgado and Mike Finnegan on vocal duet. Finnegan also adds distinctive organ work on this track which really compliments the basic format of the song. Excellent! On Send You Back, an acoustic blues, Walker shows a different feel with his voice and guitar, much more in primitive form and really nicely complimented by Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. The only acoustic track on the release it more than holds it's own weight with this set of powerhouse tracks. Wrapping the release is Witness, a soul style track with a pop flare. The most radio friendly track on the release is mostly shows another facet of Walker's diverse palate. This is really an excellent compilation and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

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