Little Toby Walker is something of an all rounder when it comes to the
blues. As well as playing guitar and singing, he also teaches guitar, and
has conducted research into the blues. On his self-titled CD he has
matched his talents with a multitude of influences to produce a worthy set
of mostly Delta and Piedmont style blues.
The CD opens with the first of three originals (out of 17 tracks), "Take A
Little Walk With Me." It offers good evidence of Walkers talents as a
musician and a songwriter. The way that he attacks the guitar is
reminiscent of the sort of approach that Kent Duchaine adopts for many of
his songs. Also like Duchaine, Walker relies largely on covers, and the
selection here is wide and varied, without ever being too
disparate. Although there are few old chestnuts here ("Stack O'Lee," "Born
Blind," "Sitting On Top Of The World," and "Catfish Blues"), Walker has
mostly opted for some less covered songs.
There is plenty here to keep fans of acoustic blues amused. The race
across the strings on the second of the original tunes ("Who's Gonna Be
Your Sweet Man Tonight"), for example, merely serves to confirm Walker's
talent as a guitarist. Similarly, the gospel-like delivery of Blind Willie
McTell's "Savannah Mama" illustrates some of the breadth of Walker's
influences, as does the "Irish Fiddle Medley" which shows how you can adapt
fiddle tunes to the guitar. It is also interesting to hear an acoustic
take on the old Lieber and Stoller tune, "When She Wants Good Lovin'."
As well as being a singer and guitarist, Little Toby Walker also carries
out his own research into the blues, making field trips throughout the
southern USA. The details of his trips can be found on his web site
(www.littletobywalker.com) where you can also buy the CD, which provides
ample evidence that the leg work has paid off.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, 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.
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