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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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Showing posts with label Wee Willie Walker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wee Willie Walker. Show all posts

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blue Dot Records artist: Wee Willie Walker and The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra - After A While - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, After A While, from Wee Willie Walker and The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra and it's really strong. Opening with Second Chance, a cool R&B track featuring Walker on lead vocal, backed by Anthony Paule on guitar, Paul Olguin on bass, Tony Lufrano on keys, Derrick "D'Mar" Martin on drums and vibes, Tom Poole on trumpet, Derek James on trombone, Charles McNeal on tenor sax, Johnnie Bamont on bari sax and flute, and featuring Loralee Christensen, Larry Batiste and Glenn Walters on backing vocals. Title track, After A While is a particularly soulful track and Walker really digs in vocally. Of particular note is the warmth of the horn section especially the rich tenor work of McNeal and the throaty bari work by Bamont. Slick, R&B track, I Don't Want To Take A Chance, has solid radio potential with Walkers effortless lead and nicely presented backing vocals. Thanks For The Dance has a Tex Mex feel with cool "south of the border" guitar styling by Paule. It's all about the bass groove on If Only with it's effect on your feet (and your seat). Another standout track is Look What You've Done To Me with rumbling tom toms by D'Mar and a slick muted trumpet solo by Poole. Easy paced, I Don't Want To Know, has great vocal posture and Paule's laid back guitar riffs add just the right amount of zip. Funky, The Willie Walk is my favorite track on the release with a great bass line, full horn compliment, featuring a great solos on trombone from James, on trumpet by Poole, on sax byBamont and on organ by Lufrano. Excellent! Wrapping the release is the soulful, Your Good Thing (Is About To End). Walker's vocals are rich with soul, backed by gospel like vocals by Christiansen, Baptiste and Walters and soaked in rich blues guitar riffs by Paule. This is an excellent closer for a really solid release. 

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

VizzTone Label Group artist: Nancy Wright - Playdate! - New release review

I just had the opportunity to review the newest release, Playdate!, from Nancy Wright and it's smokin! Opening with funky, Why You Wanna Do It, Wee Willie Walker takes the lead on vocal and Nancy Wright really sails on sax. Joe Kyle Jr. sets the pace on bass with some heavy lines and J. Hansen's drum work is tight. Excellent opener! On Willie Dixon's I Got What It Takes, Kyle again sets a strong bass line and Tommy Castro brings a real nice guitar solo. This track is in the groove and Wright delivers a great sound on sax backed by Tom Poole on trumpet and Faris Jarrah on trombone.Yes He Do is a great swinger with Victor Wainwright really taking control on piano. Wright takes it higher and the two hit it out of the park. Super. Eddie Shaw's Blues For The Westside is an absolute screamer with Wright really digging in. Chris Burns' piano work on this track really stands out and Joe Louis Walker stands tall with soulful guitar riffs fluidly added throughout as well as featured in solo form. Really tasty! R&B track, Been Waiting That Long features Frank Bey on lead vocals and with it's swampy beat martin Winstad adds cool percussion to an already gritty track. Wright really squeezes the horn on this one getting it to squeal. The thoughts of Jr Walker come around as Trampled blows from Wright's horn with Kid Andersen echoing the guitar retort and Jim Pugh showing his stuff on organ. Very cool. Satisfied has a distinct revival/gospel sound with the Plymouth Church of Jazz and Justice Choir bringing up the chorus. Wright sails on sax backed by Chauncey Roberts on tambourine and handclaps. Another track with deep funk, Warranty, features Terrie Odabi on lead vocals. This track is so well crafted it is likely to get strong airplay across a number of stations. Andersen sets in some real nice guitar riffs and Wright crafts a hot sax solo giving the track real heat. New Orleans flavored, Cherry Wine, has super cool drum work and Lisa Leuschner-Andersen brings cool backing vocals. Wright down right swings it when she comes in for her solo taking it to the house. Instrumental, There Is Something On Your Mind, is a great blues track with Wright really winding up her sax and Mr Elvin Bishop answering with Red Dog on slide. This track has Bishops name written all over it and Wright really knows how to stack these cards. Excellent! Mike Schermer takes the lead on guitar on the swinging, Back Room Rock. Burns and Kyle really get the track cranking and Wright seals the deal with fat sax work on this one. Wrapping the release is laid back, Soul Blue, with Wright and Chris Cain setting the stage. Cain's guitar work cuts like a hot knife, searing through the horns and keyboard work giving the track a relaxed but crisp sound. Burns takes a real nice piano solo leading up to Wright tying everything up tight with her final chorus. This is an excellent release with plenty of blues for everyone. Check it out!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Classic Soul Blues Singer Wee Willie Walker Vaults to the Front of Public Attention with Three Blues Music Awards Nominations for "If Nothing Ever Changes" CD




Classic Soul Blues Singer Wee Willie Walker Vaults to the Front of Public Attention with Three Blues Music Awards Nominations for If Nothing Ever Changes CD

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – In one of the most amazing and powerful music stories of the past year, under-recognized classic soul blues singer Wee Willie Walker, who was previously best-remembered for a few 1960s obscure singles for Goldwax and Chess Records, released a new album, If Nothing Ever Changes, which has captured the hearts and minds of blues and soul music fans around the world. That led to his being nominated in three major categories by the Blues Foundation for the upcoming Blues Music Awards, to be held in Memphis on May 5: Album of the Year, Soul Blues Album and Soul Blues Male Artist. Members of the Blues Foundation can vote at www.blues.org, with voting open until the end of February.

To stream the music on the If Nothing Ever Changes album, click on this link:
When Blues Music Magazine recently announced their Top 10 Picks for 2015 from six of its editors, four of the six – including Editor-in-Chief Art Tipaldi - featured Wee Willie Walker’s CD on their lists. Additionally, the nationally-syndicated radio show, “Elwood’s Bluesmobile,” has chosen Wee Willie Walker's track, “Hands of Time” as Elwood's Blues Breaker to air the weekend of February 20-21. 
Reviews of If Nothing Ever Changes have been over the top in their praise of his long-overdue talent recognition:

“If enough of the right people hear If Nothing Ever Changes, Wee Willie Walker’s world will change, and he will become the award-winning, highly sought-after soul/blues singer he has deserved to be since the 1960s…….  Not enough good things can be said about this singer’s comeback record.” - Steve Sharp, Living Blues

“West Coast guitarist Kid Andersen and harmonica player Rick Estrin have done fans of quality roots music a public service by rescuing 1960s Goldwax soul singer Wee Willie Walker…” - Frank-John Hadley, DownBeat

“‘60s soul journeyman Wee Willie Walker returns here with a highly charged, diverse set stacked with airplay-worthy tracks……A ‘year’s best’ candidate.” - Duane Verh, Roots Music Report

The catalyst for the recording of If Nothing Ever Changes came when multi-Blues Music Award-winning singer/harmonica player Rick Estrin was introduced to Walker by Willie’s manager, Julia Schroeder, and instantly realized that this was the voice he’d remembered from hearing on some Goldwax and Chess 45s in his collection. And when Estrin heard how strong and vibrant Walker’s vocals still were, the idea was hatched, along with all-star guitarist Kid Andersen, to record a new album on Walker. During the sessions recorded with a host of A-list West Coast musicians, keyboard player Jim Pugh, himself a veteran of scores of major blues and roots recordings (Robert Cray, B.B. King, Etta James) and live dates (Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton), mentioned his idea of creating the Little Village Foundation to record artists such as Walker. As Estrin then states in the album liner notes, “We found our platform for launching this record into the world. All we wanted to do was to make music with Willie, and do what WE could to get him heard in the setting he deserves. Nobody was thinking about getting paid, it was all for the common love of this beautiful and near extinct music.”
   
Willie Walker was a member of the gospel group the Redemption Harmonizers when he left Memphis and headed to Minneapolis in 1960. With the Twin Cities having been his base of operations since then, Walker proceeded to work with a number of area gospel groups, before subsequent visits back to Memphis in the ‘60s landed him recording dates with Goldwax Records. He cut nine sides for Goldwax, which released some on their imprint and also leased four of them to Chess Records subsidiary, Check Records. Some of his singles included “You Name It, I’ve Had It” and “From Warm, to Cool, to Cold,” which were recognized as gems of soul music, but not widely released and known only to true music aficionados.

Before recording his latest album, Walker had recorded three albums over the past 10 years backed by hot local Twin Cities soul/R&B band The Butanes, which though with limited distribution and publicity, still garnered critical acclaim and kept Walker and the band busy playing local and regional dates.
  
If Nothing Ever Changes, his Little Village label debut, brings Willie Walker to the forefront with the support of some marquee names of West Coast blues and soul serving as his backing band.  Walker described the resulting recording sessions as a “houseful of love. I didn’t know them, but they all knew me and immediately we were like family,” he recalls. With Estrin producing and Kid at the helm, the artists assembled for the sessions represent some of the strongest talent of today’s West Coast Blues scene:  Jim Pugh – keyboard player and founder of the Little Village Foundation; Rusty Zinn – a guitarist whose resume includes recordings with Kim Wilson and Sly Dunbar; Robert Welsh, guitarist with Elvin Bishop; bassist Randy Bermudes of The Fabulous Thunderbirds and, vocalist Curtis Salgado, whose group The Nighthawks inspired John Belushi to create the Blues Brothers – just to name a few.

Since the release of If Nothing Ever Changes, Walker has performed on shows in the Twin Cities area and Midwest, as well as festival dates such as the prestigious Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon and an overseas tour in Spain.



About the Little Village Foundation

What We Do: We bring music from next door to the world
How We Do It: By searching out, discovering, recording and producing music that wouldn’t otherwise be heard
Why We Do It: Diverse music builds empathy
For more information, visit www.LittleVillageFoundation.com and www.weewilliewalker.com