, Joe Louis Walker takes his rightful place among legendary electric blues singer/guitarist/songwriters like B.B. King and Buddy Guy. The Blues Music Award winner has been releasing critically-acclaimed albums and touring the world since 1986. Produced by Grammy Award winner Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, Susan Tedeschi), the blistering Hellfire
is Joe Louis Walker's calling card for coronation.
On his new disc, 'Hellfire,' Mr. Walker does again what he's done for so long, only this time with more clarity. Produced and mixed by Tom Hambridge, who oversaw recent solid albums by Buddy Guy and George Thorogood, 'Hellfire' presents Mr. Walker playing jump blues; slow, searing blues; Rolling Stones-style rockin' blues; electric country blues; Chicago blues that's Mr. Walker wailing on harmonica on ''I'm on to You'' and gospel blues featuring the Jordanaires, the vocal quartet that supported Elvis Presley. Mr. Walker's raspy, powerhouse voice is out front while his stinging guitar cuts through the uncluttered arrangements. He contributed three original compositions and worked with Mr. Hambridge and Richard Fleming on two other new tunes; another new one, the smoldering Hambridge-Fleming song ''What It's Worth,'' was earmarked for Bobby Blue Bland until Mr. Walker stepped in. The disc closes with a hot cover of Hank Snow's ''Movin' On.''
''...There's an appealing immediacy to 'Hellfire' perhaps because the sessions, with a core five-piece band, lasted all of two days. Much of the disc was cut live; Mr. Walker overdubbed his distorted guitar solo on the title track, a crackling jump blues that opens the album. The solo brings to mind Hendrix as well as contemporary shredders like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Said Mr. Walker, ''Just because it's a blues album doesn't mean you can't cut loose.'' --The Wall Street Journal