7 Walkers: 7 Walkers (Response/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

7 Walkers: King Cotton Blues (with Willie Nelson)
7 Walkers: 7 Walkers (Response/Southbound)

Singer-guitarist Papa Mali here has a story: the late bluesman John Campbell spotted his talent when Mali (born Malcolm Welbourne in Louisiana) was in his teens; he was given his nickname by reggae figurehead Burning Spear while playing in Jamaica; he brought reggae and Southern funk together with rock'n'roll . . .

But he's only one name here: the rest include Willie Nelson (on the slightly spooky Dr John/Band-like King Cotton Blues), bassist George Porter Jnr of the legendary New Orleans funk band the Meters, drummer Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), acclaimed bassist Reed Mathis, words by Dead lyricist Robert Hunter . . .

A tribute to the spirit and music of New Orleans, these songs touch the mythic (Chingo! with references to the spirit figure Shango), specific places (Nachitoches, “rolling down Decatur to Jackson Square”), the hot, sleepy South, and the waters rising. The organ-driven, spacerock-cum-Nawlins funk of the instrumental Mr Okra also evokes its own story, as does the short but disconcerting Airline Highway which leads into the soulful song of loss Someday You'll See.

This isn't classic Meters-funk nor voodoo spirit like early Dr John, but it draws from those points as well as bayou country-rock. If it fails to fully satisfy overall, when it scores direct hits (like the moody, eight minute creep of Louisiana Rain) you feel the spirit evoked by those who know the territory.

Like the sound of that? Then try this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Neil Young: Greendale (Reprise)

Neil Young: Greendale (Reprise)

Neil Young's Greendale confirms "quirky" and "eccentric" aren't always endearing qualities, especially on a song-cycle about three generations of a family which ... blah-blah.... > Read more

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

When my oldest son in London recently told me that he was going to see Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek) in concert I said something to the effect, that'll be cheerful, a bundle of laughs. That... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE MANY DEATHS OF MARY DOBIE, by DAVID HASTINGS

THE MANY DEATHS OF MARY DOBIE, by DAVID HASTINGS

As with many compelling stories – from Truman Capote's In Cold Blood through film-noir – this one begins with a murder. And from it, both backwards and forwards, the narrative... > Read more

WAYNE SHORTER ON THE FRONTLINE AGAIN: The Grammy-magnet

WAYNE SHORTER ON THE FRONTLINE AGAIN: The Grammy-magnet

When my eldest son bought a one-way ticket to London and packed his bag, he brought over three boxes of vinyl for me to store. Over the weeks I picked my way through this eclectic treasure trove... > Read more