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Joe Louis Walker

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Biography

It took Joe Louis Walker a while to establish himself as a force of his own -- nearly 20 years, to be precise -- but once he released his debut, Cold Is the Night, in 1986, he quickly became a staple in contemporary blues. Walker drew upon blues, soul, and gospel in equal measure, a combination that sounded electrifying upon his national debut, but this hybrid also allowed him to play in a variety of settings, both on-stage and on record. Such versatility gave Walker a long career, leading to a 2013 induction in the Blues Hall of Fame. A native of San Francisco, Joe Louis Walker began playing guitar when he was eight, playing out when he was in his teens. His adolescence coincided with the rise of rock, so he began to run in psychedelic circles, playing in the house band at The Matrix and eventually striking up a friendship with Mike Bloomfield, the guitarist for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Walker roamed through the San Francisco scene, rubbing shoulders with the Grateful Dead, eventually making a journey to Chicago before returning to the Bay Area, where he roomed with Bloomfield. Walker began to pursue interests outside of blues in 1975. He played with the Spiritual Corinthians Gospel Quartet, while also earning degrees in English and Music from San Francisco State University. Walker returned to the blues in 1985, following the Corinthians' appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. forming a band called the Bosstalkers, Walker signed to Hightone, releasing his debut Cold Is the Night in 1986. Cold Is the Night pushed Walker's career into high gear. Hightone cranked out The Gift (1988) and Blue Soul (1989) in rapid succession, followed by two separate volumes of Live at Slims in 1991 and 1992. Walker then made the leap to the big leagues, signing with Verve for 1993's Blues Survivor. He stayed with Verve throughout the '90s, releasing a series of albums that found the guitarist dabbling in soul and jazz. Walker became a reliable figure on festival circuits as well as television during this period, and he started an alliance with Steve Cropper beginning with 1995's Blues of the Month Club. Cropper produced 1997's Great Guitars and 1998's Preacher and the President, before Walker helmed 1999's Silvertone Blues on his own. Walker signed with Telarc in 2002 for In the Morning, the first of a series of albums for a variety of independent labels. Between 2002 and 2006, he recorded for Evidence, JSP Records, Provogue, and, once again, Hightone. In 2008, he settled at Stony Plain Music, which released Witness to the Blues that year and Between a Rock and the Blues in 2009. In 2012, Walker signed with Alligator Records, which released Hellfire that year. Joe Louis Walker was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2014. The next year, he released Hornet's Nest on Alligator. Provogue put out Everybody Wants a Piece in 2015. Journeys to the Heart of the Blues, a collaboration with Bruce Katz and Giles Robson, appeared in 2018. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Eyes Like a Cat featuring Deanna Bogart
  3.   747 featuring Joe Louis Walker & Blues Conspiracy
  4.   Born In Chicago featuring Jason Ricci
  5.   Ain't That Cold featuring Joe Louis Walker & Blues Conspiracy
  6.   12-Step Lovin'
  7.   Bit by Bit (Little by Little)
  8.   T.L.C.
  9.   Blue Guitar
  10.   Going to Canada
  11.   Don't Mess Up a Good Thing by Angela Strehli
  12.   Thin Line
  13.   On That Powerline
  14.   Hot Tamale Baby
  15.   Prove Your Love
  16.   Blues of the Month Club
  17.   Brother, Go Ahead and Take Her
  18.   I Didn't Know
  19.   Personal Baby
  20.   I'm Tide
  21.   Big Fine Woman
  22.   Way Too Expensive
  23.   Send You Back
  24.   Blackjack
  25.   Change My Ways
  26.   Dead Sea
  27.   City of Angels
  28.   Ride On, Baby
  29.   1/4 to 3
  30.   It's You, Baby
  31.   Just a Little Bit
  32.   Repay My Love
  33.   Ten More Shows To Play featuring Joe Louis Walker & Blues Conspiracy
  34.   Soldier for Jesus
  35.   Ramblin' Soul
  36.   You Don't Love Me Girl
  37.   As the Sun Goes Down
  38.   Soul City
  39.   Cold Is the Night
  40.   Gospel Blues
  41.   Stick a Fork in Me
  42.   In the Morning
  43.   Strange Loving
  44.   The Gift
  45.   Don't Cry
  46.   Y&T
  47.   Tell the Truth
  48.   Joe's Jump
  49.   Crying Won't Help You
  50.   You Just Don't Know
  51.   What About You
  52.   Moanin' News
  53.   I'm Gonna Love You by Otis Grand
  54.   You're Just About to Lose Your Clown
  55.   Where Jesus Leads
  56.   Lyin' in the Name of Love
  57.   Strangers in Our House
  58.   Don't Let Go
  59.   Bluesifyin'
  60.   Hornet's Nest
  61.   Uhh!
  62.   Do You Love Me?
  63.   I Need Someone
  64.   Not in Kansas Anymore
  65.   Everybody's Had the Blues
  66.   Ready and Able
  67.   Gettin' Even
  68.   New Direction
  69.   Mama Didn't Raise No Fool
  70.   Black Widow Spider
  71.   Love Enough
  72.   2120 South Michigan Avenue
  73.   Young Girls Blues
  74.   Man of Many Words
  75.   One Sunny Day
  76.   Black & Blue
  77.   Buzz on You
  78.   Do I Love Her
  79.   Everybody Wants a Piece
  80.   I'm Gonna Walk Outside
  81.   All I Wanted to Do by Muscle Shoals Horns
  82.   You're Gonna Make Me Cry
  83.   Too Drunk to Drive Drunk
  84.   What's It Worth
  85.   I'm on to You
  86.   Roll It Over by James Cotton
  87.   Tell Me Why featuring Duke Robillard
  88.   Prisoner of Misery
  89.   If There's a Heaven
  90.   I've Been Down
  91.   Hallways
  92.   I Got What You Need
  93.   Highview
  94.   Rollin' & Tumblin'
  95.   Witness
  96.   Hustlin'
  97.   It's a Shame featuring Henry Oden
  98.   Sugar Mama featuring Joe Louis Walker & Blues Conspiracy
  99.   Heart of Stone
  100.   Young Girl's Eyes
  101.   Workin' Blues
  102.   Slow Down GTO featuring Joe Louis Walker & Blues Conspiracy
  103.   Slide Her Up and Down
  104.   Since You've Been Gone
  105.   Shade Tree Mechanic
  106.   Ridin' High
  107.   Regal Blues by Otis Grand
  108.   Rainy Nights
  109.   Pickin' the Blues
  110.   One Woman
  111.   One Time Around
  112.   Nobody Wanta to Know Ya
  113.   My Dignity
  114.   Mile-Hi Club
  115.   Letting Go
  116.   Juicy Fruit
  117.   In God's Hands
  118.   I'm Not Messin' Around
  119.   I Got Loaded
  120.   Hop on It
  121.   Hookers Blues
  122.   Hold On
  123.   Help Yourself
  124.   Ghetto Life
  125.   Fuss and Fight
  126.   From the Projects to Paris
  127.   Fix Our Love
  128.   Don't Play Games
  129.   Don't Know You
  130.   Do the Walkin'
  131.   Born in Mississippi
  132.   Blues Survivor
  133.   Barefoot Rock
  134.   Bad Thing
  135.   Bad Luck Blues
  136.   Alone
  137.   Alligator
  138.   Silvertone Blues
  139.   Witchcraft
  140.   Borrowed Time
  141.   Part of Me
  142.   Cold and Evil Night
  143.   Sugar
  144.   If This Is Love (I'd Rather Have the Blues)
  145.   High Blood Pressure
  146.   Keep on Believin'
  147.   I Can't Get You off My Mind
  148.   I Need Your Lovin' Every Day
  149.   100% More Man
  150.   Poor Man Blues
  151.   Pride of a Fool
  152.   Do You Wanna Be With Me?
  153.   Midnight Train
  154.   Kenny's Barrelhouse
  155.   First Degree
  156.   Leave That Girl
  157.   Put You Down, Baby
  158.   Runnin' from the Devil
  159.   Lost the Will to Love Me
  160.   Nighttime
  161.   Low Down Dirty Blues
  162.   Wade in the Water
  163.   Every Girl I See
  164.   Lover's Holiday by Shemekia Copeland
  165.   Inner City Man
  166.   My Judgement Day
  167.   Trouble on Wheels
  168.   I'm Getting Drunk by Otis Grand
  169.   Bliss Street Blues