Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Tommy Johnson were the innovators of the Delta Blues. Armed with only acoustic guitars and haunting vocals, these blues pioneers were to pave the way for many blues artists to follow. Keeping with the tradition of this unique and pure sound, we find relative newcomer Little Toby Walker.
His maiden self-titled release captures the essence of an intimate live performance. With his lucid yet accomplished finger picking style and fluid vocals, Walker croons his stories with character and innovation. The 17-track disc draws, for the most part, the Delta Style Blues with such songs as the Sonny Boy Williams classic Born Blind in which Walker's masterful slide guitar technique is showcased. However, Toby does mix it up with influences of contemporary, tradition, folk, ragtime and country throughout this compilation of originals and covers. A prime example of this is Scott Joplin's "Kismet Rag," arranged for the guitar by Dick Fegy. With fluid acoustic picking style, Walker delivers a melodic instrumental, which is simple yet satisfying to the listener.
Little Toby Walker is no stranger to the spot light having opened shows for numerous artists including John Hammond, James Cotton, Taj Mahal, Lonnie Brooks, Chris Smithers, Johnny Winter, John Sebastian, Cliff Eberhardt, Eric Bibb and JJ Cale. He has also been hailed in the press in such publications as the prestigious New York Times and John Hammond states with great accuracy in the liner notes of this breakout disc, "A real killer with a fantastic technique. He just knocks me out"…
If you luxuriate in basic, exposed and resourceful blues, this release will satisfy your musical desires without question
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tony Engelhart, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.