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Joe Louis Walker: Silvertone Blues

Joe Louis Walker dips into a rootsy bag on Silvertone Blues (Blue Thumb 314 547 721-2; 50:03). Joining him on four tracks, including Walker’s down-in-the-Delta homage to Son House, “Runnin’ From the Devil,” is the acclaimed young traditionalist and fellow guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart. Harmonica legend James Cotton contributes some downhome blowing on three earthy duets with JLW-“Change My Ways,” “Letting Go” and “It’s You, Baby”-rekindling their raw country blues chemistry from Cotton’s 1996 Grammy-winning Deep in the Blues. Walker himself blows a mean blues harp on “Born In Mississippi” and he plays piano for the first time on record on “Bad Luck Blues.” Pianist Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne boogies the woogie on a romping instrumental “Kenny’s Barrelhouse” and provides two-fisted accompaniment to Walker’s slinky slide guitar work on “Do The Walkin’.” With the exception of three full band tracks, including the instrumental title track, Walker strips it down to the bone on this revealing and high spirited back-to-basics project.

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