December 1998

Joe Louis Walker
Preacher and the President

Joe Louis Walker applies his brawny vocals and signature guitar work with great success on Preacher and the President (Verve 314 533 476-2; 48:52). Recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and co-produced by the legendary Steve Cropper of Booker T & the MGs fame, Walker widens his musical scope on his 10th album as a leader. The Booker T-ish title track is swathed in voodoo allusions while "I'm Not Messin' Around" has a rousing church service quality to it." "Y&T" is a funky workout and "Lyin' in the Name of Love" is an energized, horn-driven soul number that recalls vintage Wilson Pickett or Otis Redding. The epic ballad "Pride of a Fool" is a vocal showstopper while the funky shuffle "Uhh!" is a dancer's delight. There's even a hint of Van Morrison in the closer "My Real Fantasy." This one goes way beyond the earthy, gospel-tinged blues of Walker's early years. Preacher and the President sees him coming into his own as a songwriter.

Originally published in December 1998

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