Review : Little Toby Walker, Harbourside Club, Liverpool, Wed 8 Mar 2006

Posted on: Saturday, Mar 11, 2006

From Lionel Ross….

Little Toby Walker at the Harbourside Club, Liverpool, Wednesday 8th March 2006

Little Toby Walker, originally from New York and now resident in Long Island, made a huge impact on his first visit to Liverpool. A remarkably large audience, in view of the gig’s coinciding with a vital European Champion’s League football match at Anfield, was treated to a masterclass from one of the very best bluesmen in the business. His great vocals, phenomenal guitar playing and wonderfully humorous anecdotes bewitched the assembled throng for every second of his performance.

The content of the show mixed excellent original compositions with a handful of covers, the former generously sprinkled with hilarious lyrics that frequently had the audience in stitches. The humour is largely self-effacing and covers familiar topics to which everyone can relate, as typified by “100 Real Good Reasons To Sing The Blues” and “Weak Willed (And Easily Led)”. Toby also demonstrated his mastery of both finger-picking and slide techniques on acoustic and National steel guitars respectively. Musical styles ranged through traditional slow shuffles, rags (“Hacksaw Rag” and the Reverend Gary Davis’s “Cincinatti Flow Rag”) and swing. Songs and instrumentals were intermingled, the latter including a beautifully played version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” to end the first set.

Humour was never far below the surface and was immediately in evidence at the start of the second set with “It Should have Been Me”, before further evidence of Toby’s artistry was revealed with a terrific delivery of “The Entertainer”. “Full-figured Women” re-engaged the chuckle muscles before a return to echoes of the Delta with “Southern Cross The Dog” and a whimsical train journey with appropriate harmonica-based sound effects and audience participation, which provided superb entertainment. The second set ended with yet more variety, comprising the slowly shuffling “Texas Tornado”, “Nineteen Years Old” and a final dose of humour in “Gimme That On-line Religion (At”. The richly deserved standing ovation was rewarded with a scintillating version of “I Know You Rider”, with another helping of intricate guitar work. The prodigious demand during the interval for Toby’s albums said it all: it really doesn’t get any better than this.

Lionel Ross


[…] I know that there are a lot of Little Toby Walker fans here in the North West of the UK after his successful show at the Harbourside in Liverpool. […]