One of the today's busiest blues musicians is Joe Louis Walker, a guitarist from San Francisco, California, who's been honing his skills for the better part of 40 years. VOA's Doug Levine has more on this versatile Bay Area bluesman and his latest album Playin' Dirty.
Like most great blues artists, Joe Louis Walker was a quick learner. By the time he was a teenager, he had mastered the electric guitar, playing everything from B.B. King tunes to traditional Delta blues by Howlin' Wolf.
Already on his own at age 16, he gravitated toward San Francisco's legendary rock and blues scene. It was an eye-opening experience for young Walker, who was invited to perform with Jimi Hendrix, Steve Miller and The Grateful Dead. Before long, Walker had become one of the city's most sought-after bluesmen.
In 1975, Joe Louis Walker decided to give his whirlwind lifestyle a break. He shifted musical gears and spent the next 10 years performing in a gospel quartet called The Spiritual Corinthians.
A turning point came at the 1985 New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival, when Walker decided to get back to playing the blues. A year later, he returned to San Francisco, and began conquering the blues world with his group, The Bosstalkers. Keeping his rock and gospel influences intact, he's recorded more than a dozen albums on various labels.
Walker's new album, Playin' Dirty, embraces his rock and soul roots. It was recorded in Paris, France, and features Walker's signature "jump blues" sound on an original, titled Juicy Fruit.