Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker




Multiple Grammy & WC Handy Award winner Joe Louis Walker is one of the most heralded blues artists of our time. JLW is a true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer & prolific songwriter who has toured the world religiously throughout his career and earned himself a legion of dedicated fans around the globe. He has recorded with the likes of BB King, James Cotton, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Huey Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Steve Cropper, Shemekia Copeland & Ike Turner, with a discography that counts 18 solo albums, 2 live DVDs, and countless compilations and guest appearances. Still recording and touring with a vengeance, JLW is already being referred to within the blues world as a "living legend." However, as Walker himself would say, "The best is yet to come!"

JLW was born in 1949 in San Francisco. He came from a musical family, amidst the early influences of T-Bone Walker, BB King, Meade Lux Lewis, Amos Milburn, and Pete Johnson. Joe first picked up the guitar at the age of 8 and became a known quantity within the Bay Area music scene by the age of 16. While gigging through his teens, he soaked up many more influences (especially vocalists like Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Bobby Womack & Otis Redding). Over these early years, Joe’s musical pupilage saw him playing with the likes of John Lee Hooker, JJ Malone, Buddy Miles, Otis Rush, Thelonius Monk, The Soul Stirrers, Willie Dixon, Charlie Musselwhite, Steve Miller, Nick Lowe, John Mayall, Earl Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix.

By 1968, Joe had forged a close friendship with Mike Bloomfield (indeed, they were roommates for many years) which lasted up until Bloomfield’s sad demise. That event was the catalyst that shook JLW into an immediate lifestyle change. He quit the blues and enrolled himself at San Francisco State University (where JLW achieved a degree in Music & English). Throughout this time, Joe was regularly performing with “The Spiritual Corinthians “gospel quartet”.

After a 1985 performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Joe was inspired to return to his blues roots whereupon he formed the “Bosstalkers” and signed to the Hightone label. Under the auspices of Bruce Bromberg & Dennis Walker, his debut album “Cold Is The Night” was released to huge worldwide critical acclaim in 1986. He began a relentless touring schedule that took him to all the corners of the globe, and tirelessly managed to deliver a further 4 releases in succession for Hightone Records (“The Gift” 1988, “Blue Soul” 1989, “Live At Slims Vol 1” 1991, “Live At Slims Volume 2” 1992).

After the long and fruitful partnership with Hightone, JLW was signed by Polygram to their Verve/Gitanes label. His first of many Polygram releases ensued with “Blues Survivor” in 1993. This marked the beginning of an eclectic JLW era that merged many of his gospel, jazz, soul, funk and rock influences with his trademark blues sensibilities. Indeed, it could easily be said that Walker & Taj Mahal combined, have historically furthered the entire blues genre throughout the latter half of the 20th Century by exposing the idiom to outside influences and infusing it with a healthy variety of cross-musical cultures. The success of both their legacies has thus enabled a plethora of writers & performers to follow suit, taking the blues well into the 21st Century. 1993 also saw the release of BB King’s Grammy Winning “Blues Summit” album, which featured a duet with JLW (a Walker original, “Everybody’s Had the Blues”). This was followed up by a live DVD release, featuring another duet with Joe (a classic rendition of “T-Bone Shuffle”).

“JLW” was released in 1994, featuring guests such as James Cotton, Branford Marsalis, and the Tower Of Power Horn-section. During this period, Joe’s touring schedule had seen many reappearances at the world’s most renowned music festivals (North Sea Jazz, Peer, Montreaux, Glastonbury, The Super Dome, San Francisco Festival, Russian River Jazz, Monterey, Jazz & Heritage, Sapporo Japan, Pistoia Italy, Byron Bay Australia, Cognac France, Ospel, Notodden Norway, Lucerne Switzerland, Beacon Theatre New York, etc.).

JLW also spent many years covering all the major western TV networks (Conan O’Brien, Imus, Jools Holland UK, Inauguration for George W Bush, inducting BB King for President Clinton & Hilary Rodham Clinton into the Kennedy Centre Honors, Ono Filter Germany, Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame) as well as numerous French, Dutch, Scandinavian, German, Irish, Spanish, Brazilian, Italian, Turkish, Japanese, Taiwanese, Australian and ex-Iron Curtain TV networks.

“Blues Of The Month Club” was released in 1995, and was the first of three JLW albums that were co-produced with legendary Stax-man, Steve Cropper (NB. this album also featured appearances from the likes of The Memphis Horns & The Spiritual Corinthians, as well as Steve Cropper himself). This was followed up by the seminal release of “Great


Joe Louis Walker Record & DVD Releases List

Playin' Dirty
(JSP Records 2006) Nobody Wants To Know Ya -- Barefoot Rock -- I Got Loaded -- Poor Man Plead -- Woman Was Made To Be Loved -- Pickin' The Blues -- Ain't It Nice To Be Loved -- Juicy Fruit -- Ready And Able -- From The Projects To Paris
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker (vocals/guitar/piano/harmonica), Jimmy Oz (bass), Asmus Jensen (drums)

New Direction
(Provogue Records 2004) Do You Love Me? -- Custom Cars, Gibson Guitars -- Messed My Mind Up -- New Direction -- You Don't Love Me Girl -- Tempting Me -- Soldier For Jesus -- Mr. G's Boogie -- Ain't That Cold -- Lena
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Robert Watson, Carl Carter, Ellis Blacknell Jr.

Ridin' High - Live
(Hightone Records 2003) Ridin' High -- Bit by Bit (Little by Little) -- Alligator -- 747 -- Thin Line -- Don't Mess Up a Good Thing -- Prove Your Love -- Blue Guitar -- I Didn't Know -- Personal Baby -- One Time Around
Best of Walker's Live at Slim's tracks on Hightone's Heritage Of The Blues series. CD includes three previously unreleased tracks. Recorded at Slim's, San Francisco, CA, November 9th & 10th, 1990
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Carl Schumacher, Henry Oden, Paul Revelli, Tim Devine, Jeff Lewis, Angela Strehli, Huey Lewis

She's My Money Maker
(JSP Records 2002/03) Slow Down GTO -- Poor Man Blues -- Ghetto Life -- Borrowed Time -- No Easy Kind Of Loving -- Slide Her Up And Down -- Born In Chicago -- My Judgement Day -- Hookers Blues -- Eight Years of Lovin'
Mucisians: Joe Louis Walker, Robert Watson, Geno Blacknell Jr., Willy Jordan

Guitar Brothers
(JSP Records 2002) Snake Bit -- Imitation Ice Cream Blues -- I Like It This Way -- Better Off Alone -- Friends -- I'm Getting Drunk -- Rude Women -- Regal Blues -- Bliss Street Blues -- I'm Gonna Love You
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Otis Grand, Chris Burns, Robert Watson, Clarence 'Starr' James Jr., Cash Farrar, Steve Long; plus: George Bisharat, Steve Griffith, Barrie Martin
Pasa Tiempo
(Evidence Music 2002) Sweet Thing -- Direct Me -- Barcelona -- I've Got Your Love -- It Hurts Me Too -- Love Like Blood -- Pasa Tiempo -- You Get What You Give -- You Can't Sit Down
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Wallace Roney, Barry Goldberg, Bob Hurst, Leon Ndugu Chancler, Master Henry Gibson; plus: Ernie Watts, Carla Olson, Phil Upchurch

In The Morning
(Telarc 2002) You're Just About To Lose Your Clown -- In The Morning -- Joe's Jump -- Leave The Girl Alone -- Where Jesus Leads -- Strange Loving -- Do you Wanna Be With Me? -- If This Is Love (I'd Rather Have The Blues) -- 2120 South Michigan Avenue -- Strangers In Our House
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, G.E. Smith, Andrea Re, David Maxwell, T-Bone Wolk, Steve Holley

8. Silvertone Blues
Catalog #3145477212
compact disc
release date 10/5/1999
Blue Thumb Records
Silvertone Blues
(Polydor/PolyGram 1999) Runnin' from the Devil -- Kenny's Barrelhouse -- Change My Ways -- Do the Walkin' -- Trouble on Wheels -- Letting Go -- Talk to Me -- Silvertone Blues -- Born in Mississippi -- Crying Won't Help You -- It's You Baby -- Bad Luck Blues

Preacher And The President
Catalog #3145334762
compact disc
release date 8/25/1998
Verve Records
Preacher And The President
(Polydor/PolyGram 1998) Preacher and the President -- Yveline -- Repay My Love -- I'm Not Messin' Around -- Y&T -- Lyin' In The Name of Love -- Pride Of A Fool -- Uhh! -- Tell The Truth -- My Real Fantasy
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Jimmy Johnson, Clayton Ivey, David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Joe Thomas, Carl Marsh, Chris Sandoval, Mike Haynes, Harvey Thompson, Jim Horn, Charles Rose, Tom Rose, Mike Eppley, Eddie Ramirez, Noel Catura, Steve Cropper

10. Great Guitars
Catalog #3145371412
compact disc
release date 4/8/1997
Verve Recordsuu
Great Guitars
(Polydor/PolyGram 1997) Low Down Dirty Blues -- First Degree -- Mile-Hi Club -- Fix Our Love -- Every Girl I See -- Cold And Evil Night -- Hop On It -- Nighttime -- Sugar -- In God's Hands -- High Blood Pressure
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Mike Eppley, Tom Rose, Joe Thomas, Curtis Nutall; The Tower Of Power Horns: Emilio Castillo, Bill Churchville, Barry Danielian, Stephen "Doc" Kupka, John Scarpulla; The Johnny Nocturne Horns: John Firmin, Rob Sudduth, George Spencer, Marty Wenner; plus: Bonnie Raitt, Ike Turner, Scotty Moore, Little Charlie Baty, Steve Cropper, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Steve Gomes, Rob Stupka, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Taj Mahal, Robert Lockwood Jr., Wallace Colemann, Charles "D.C." Carnes, Richard Smith, Jimmy "Gator" Hoare

Blues Of The Month Club
(Polydor/PolyGram 1995) Blues Of The Month Club -- You've Got To Lose -- Lost Heart -- Bluesifyin' -- Hidden Feelings -- Play'em Where They Lay -- Get It Right -- I'm Not Comin' Over -- Second Street -- Your Lyin' Eyes - Stree People
Musicians: Joe Louis Walker, Tom Rose, Mike Eppl