In an age when so much of the music is shallow, over-produced bubblegum pop, it's a rarity to find a pure blues album that doesn't have the name Buddy Guy or Eric Clapton on it. For Everybody Wants a Piece, Joe Louis Walker straps on a six-string, turns up, and blows out a blues album the way a blues album is supposed to be: Full of emotion, thick riffs, deep grooves and searing guitar licks.
Walker and his band come out swinging, laying down a pair of thundering guitar riffs on the album's title track, Everybody Wants a Piece and Do I Love Her, highlighted by some brilliant fretwork from Walker on the former, and punctuated by a series of equally impressive harmonica fills on the latter. Two tracks later, Walker digs deep, spinning a tale of saving a love affair that's falling apart that was made for a blues album on Black and Blue. Walker's heartfelt lyrics are matched by the wah, reverb and tear soaked guitar solo that brings the track's final minute to a close.
But Walker and Co. are just catching a groove and the guitar licks keep coming hot and heavy on Witchcraft and One Sunny Day, before slowing things down a bit and gathering around a church organ for Gospel Blues, then laying down a rendition of the old spiritual Wade in the Water that belongs at a tent revival.
A trio of vintage inspired tracks close things out, with Walker channeling his inner Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and Elmore James on Man of Many Words, Young Girls Blues and 35 Years Old, reminding us that even in the 21st Century, the godfathers of blues and soul are still as important and relevant as ever.
For this blues fan, Everybody Wants a Piece is a breath of fresh air. Joe Louis Walker's musicianship and dedication to his craft and his music is etched in this album from the first note to the last. It restores the faith that the blues are alive, well, and thriving and will continue to be as long as bluesmen like Walker keep picking up the guitar.
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