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November 1998

Phillip Walker
I Got A Sweet Tooth
Black Top Records

Guitarist-singer Phillip Walker draws on the usual pool of Austin-New Orleans session players on I Got A Sweet Tooth (Black Top BT-1146; 46:04). A pivotal figure on the West Coast blues scene for nearly 40 years, the 62-year-old Walker fails to generate the same kind of heat as either Michael Hill or Angela Strehli. But there's no denying the authenticity of his expression on simple, unadorned, downhome fare like "My Name Is Misery," "How Could I Be Such a Fool?" and the slightly lecherous title cut. A four-piece horn section and organ add some oomph on the B.B. King styled shuffle "On My Way," which features a ripping solo by guitarist Derek O'Brien. Pianist David Torkanowsky supplies some rolling Fess-styled signatures on the N'awlins-flavored mambo, "Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time." And Walker digs deep on his soulful interpretation of the Sam Cooke slow blues, "Laughin' and Clownin'," an emotional high point of this album.

Originally published in November 1998
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