I'm going to let you all in on a little secret right at the start of this week's New Album Releases: there is literally no way for me to touch on every interesting release in this week's stack of stuff. I'm going to chat a few of them up but there is no way I can say everything I want to say about all these titles, so that means you're going to have to scan this list carefully to make sure you don't miss out. I'm only one man.
Joe Louis Walker
Blues Conspiracy: Live On The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise
You may not know the name Joe Louis Walker but you should and I'm invoking point of personal privilege leading off with this title this week. As a young artist in San Francisco, Walker roomed with Mike Bloomfield, who introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. JLW has been making great records for decades since and seems to only be getting better as his Between A Rock & The Blues won Album Of The Year at the Blues Music Awards.
Blues Conspiracy is exactly what the title says it is, but there is so much more to it than that. Yes, this is a JLW live album – the first since the one-two punch of Live at Slim's 1 &2 in the early '90s – and it was recorded on the Blues Cruise. That's exciting enough but this release finds Walker playing with many of the other artists who were part of this package, a roster that includes Johnny Winter, Duke Robillard, Jason Ricci, Curtis Salgado, Nick Moss, Kenny Neal, Watermelon Slim, Tommy Castro, Tab Benoit, and Mike Finnigan (just to name a few).
James Cotton is most certainly a giant and I'm invoking personal privilege again. His name isn't always mentioned with the icons of blues harp like the Walters (Little Walter and Big Walter Horton) or the two Sonny Boy Williamsons but James Cotton is one of the all-time greats. He recorded in Memphis for Sam Phillips at Sun Records and was on numerous memorable sides at Chess Records, having spent years playing with Muddy Waters and others. Cotton is one of the most potent, powerful players in history. He doesn't have the same wind today that he did in his younger days but he is still a legend and I cannot wait for my copy of this to arrive!