Joe Louis Walker's Blues Conspiracy: Live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise (Stony Plain)

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Joe Louis Walker with Jason Ricci, Paris Slim and Nick Moss: Born in Chicago
Joe Louis Walker's Blues Conspiracy: Live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise (Stony Plain)

That this was recorded on a Caribbean cruise might tell you all you need about its crowd-pleasing nature. But Walker's guests (guitarists Johnny Winter, Tab Benoit and Duke Robillard, Watermelon Slim on harmonica among them) get away serious six-string savagery and down low dirty vocals.

Yes, crowd-pleasing – but songs like A Poor Man's Plea with Kenny Neal turn the cruise ship lounge into a smoky Chicago bar.

Unpromising title, a cover which suggest something more like Jimmy Buffett margarita-mellow and an unpromising opener (the lumpy Slow Down GTO where all the crowd pleasin' flashy stops are pulled for effect) . . . but a rather better blues album than you might think.

Makes you want to a book the cruise, that's for sure. There are a lot of Elsewhere favourites on the stage.

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