Phillip Walker Big Band
@ Orrie’s, March 5, 1998

Phillip Walker
Orrie's, 3/5/98
Photo © 1998 by Steve Felling
All rights reserved
Phillip Walker has made Orrie’s his regular stop on his twice a year swing through the Twin Cities these past two years. This time we were treated to a little surprise. In addition to his normal horn section, three musicians from the Twin Cities joined his band for one fun night of "blues and brass." This was an eight piece band with a five piece horn section featuring Bobby Lester on saxophone, Joe Campbell on trumpet , Michael Nelson on trombone, Rick Odell on saxophone, and Jim Greenwell, saxophone.

Bobby Lester is from the Twin Cities and has been touring with Walker for the past 9 years, so these shows are always a homecoming for him. Trumpeter, Joe Campbell is new to the Walker band and he could really blow that horn. Local musicians, Odell, Greenwell and Nelson rounded out this unusual combination. It was actually a lot of fun seeing this many musicians on stage at one time. It wasn’t uncommon to have 5 different solos on one song. This was a pretty special evening and a fun time.

Lester, Campbell, Nelson, Odell, Greenwell
Photo © 1998 by Ray Stiles
All rights reserved
The rest of the band was made up of the driving, rock solid rhythm section of Don Johnson on drums and Dip Hall on bass. Phillip Walker fronted the band with his superb guitar stylings and unique vocals. Walker has a higher, almost nasal sounding quality to his very rich and unique voice and is a super guitar player who uses his notes with care and maturity. Phillip Walker is also one of those blues performers who has been around forever and deserves wider appreciation -- not for longevity, but for how good he is.

Lester, Campbell, Nelson, Odell, Greenwell
Photo © 1998 by Ray Stiles
All rights reserved
Just like every other Phillip Walker show I have seen he opened with the Freddie King classic "Hideaway." This was followed a little later by his first single, recorded in 1959, "Hello My Darling." This is one of my favorite R&B songs of his and it is interesting to note that he has recorded this song at least 4 or 5 times over the past 39 years. I think he likes it a lot too. Another of Walker’s recording’s that he performed was "Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark," the song that Robert Cray later had a huge hit with.

Photo © 1998 by Ray Stiles
All rights reserved
The bass player, Dip Hall, sang a couple of songs showing off his vocal prowess on the Temptation’s "My Girl" and the slow R&B song "Crying Time Again." Not to be outdone, the drummer Don Johnson sang "The Thrill Is Gone" during the third set. He has one of those strong, deep, booming voices that just resonate throughout the room. He was also blind, and I was wondering how he was able to follow Walker’s direction and lead so well. They had a working chemistry that was almost spooky. They finished off the night with some jazzy, swinging Big Joe Turner on "Flip, Flop, Fly." Keep an eye out for Walker's new CD on Black Top due out later this spring.

See review from 1996 for some interesting background information on Phillip Walker.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at:

Table of Contents:
[Home Page] [NEW Discussion Board] [Calendar]
[Blues Musicians] [Blues Clubs] [Blues Jams]
[New Reviews] [Live Reviews & Interviews] [CD Reviews] [Record Labels]
[Jukebox] [Photo Gallery] [Memorial] [Blues Profiles] [Blues Links]
[Site Description & Updates] [Site Awards] [Spotlight Archives]
[Member Directory] [Featured Website] [Website Design & Hosting]

Copyright © 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.