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.