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Charles Walker – New York City Blues (Complete Recordings)

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Charles Walker – New York City Blues (Complete Recordings)

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01. Driving home Part I & II

Charles Walker – guitar
Wild Jimmy Spruill – guitar
Horace Cooper – pno
Mauerice Simon – tenor saxophone, bass, drums
New York City, october 1956

02. Charles Walker's slop
03. It ain't right
04. Your evil thoughts
05. I'm a good man

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
B. Brown - harmonica
Lee Roy Little – piano, vocals
Wild Jimmy Spruill – guitar, bass
Danny Q. Jones – dms
New York City, 1960

06. Nervous wreck
07. Downhearted blues

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Bubba Smith - piano
Henry Copeland – bass
"Peanuts" – drums
New York City, june 1963

08. Louise
09. Wrong kind of woman

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
+ band
NewYork City, november 1963

10. You know it ain't right
10A. Rock me mama

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Larry Johnson – harmonica
Lee Roy Little – piano
Bob Malenky – guitar
Sonny Harden – bass
Bobby King – drums
New York City, march 1971

11. 40 days and 40 nights
12. My babe

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Bill Dicey – harmonica
Bob Malenky – guitar
Bobby King – drums
New York City, december 1971

13. Decoration day

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Larry Johnson - harmonica
New York City, 25 april 1973

14. Meeting you
15. I'm a good man but a poor man

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Lee Roy Little – piano, vocals
Ann Yancey - guitar
Davis Lee Reitman – bass
Ola Mae Dixon – drums
New York City, 1 may 1973

16. Gladly

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Bill Dancey – harmonica
Ann Yancey - guitar
Sonny Harden – bass
Ola Mae Dixon – drums
New York City, 29 july 1973

17. Juice head woman
18. Fast fast women and a slow racehorse

Charles Walker – vocals, guitar
Bill Dancey – harmonica
Lee Roy Little – piano
Tom Pomposello – bass
Bobby King – drums
New York City, may 1974

 

Among several Charles Walkers singing and playing blues and Soul, this particular Charles Walker was born july 26th 1922 in Macon, Georgia. His blues guitarist father Freeman was quite known in the neighborood joints under the moniker of Boweavil and taught his son how to sing and play the real downhome blues.

Coming up north to find better opportunities in Newark (NJ) in the 1940's, Charles Walker started a full time musical career, playing in the local clubs and drawing the attention of talent scout May McKay who brought him into New York City studios to record for the Robinson brothers in 1956 his first 45, a driving instrumental a la Honky Tonk, Driving home. The record sold quite well, at least locally, and Charles formed a blues band with good musicians like harp player Danny B. Brown (not to be confused with Buster Brown who also recorded for Bobby Robinson), ace pianist Lee Roy Little and striking guitarist Wild Jimmy Spruill. In 1959, Charles recorded a new session with this band, waxing the classic instrumental Charles Walker's slop. Unfortunately, soon afterwards, all his musicians left him for trying personal careers. Nevertheless, Charles continued to play regularly in New York clubs, finding as sidemen young musicians like Larry Johnson. He had to wait three years to record again in 1963, a good session for the tiny Atlas label that unfortunately went nowhere.

In New York, like everywhere in the USA, the blues was then considered out of fashion among the young African-Americans and, after the Colonial Club where Charles played regularly was destroyed by a fire plus several personal tragedies that plagued his life, Walker left off music completely.

But in 1971, Bobby Robinson was aware that a new almost entirely young and white blues scene was emerging in New York City searching "real" bluesmen to learn from. He then persuaded Charles Walker to take his guitar again. Robinson then recorded a long session with Charles backed by Larry Johnson blowing the harmonica and Bob Malenky on guitar. Unfortunately, only two titles have been issued on a rare Fury 45 and the rest of the tracks still lay unissued somewhere in Robinson's vaults. The same year, and this time with Bill Dicey playing the harp, Charles recorded another 45 for the obscure P&P label with a good muddyesque version of 40 days and 40 nights.

With the help of Dicey, Charles was able to play at some college venues, was interviewed by blues fan and bassist Tom Pomposello who held his own radio programme and his small Oblivion label. Tom persuaded Charles to record several new sessions with young sidemen plus old friend Lee Roy Little. Blues fromThe Apple is the complete album (with and without Charles) and deserves to be heard; although nobody paid any attention to it when it was issued.

Tom tried very hard to promote Charles Walker on the international blues circuit. But on june 24, 1975, Charles died from a lung cancer.

I feel it might be time to listen a little more carefully to this good true bluesman who gave much more than he received. This mp3 collection gathers all his records even the ultra rare Rock me mama (Fury) that Paul de Burycker has sent lately from hi extensive blues collection. Thanks a lot also to our good friend Benoit Blue Boy for providing the two parts of Driving home and pointing that the same title has been recorded some months after by New Orleans bandleader Paul Gayten, this time with Edgar Blanchard playing the guitar. And there is also another Charles Walker - probably a Country musician who has recorded a two-part Driving home which is very different from the Charles Walker's bluesy original. --- Gérard Herzhaft, jukegh.blogspot.com

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