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 gigâ€™s coinciding with a vital European Championâ€™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 â€œ100 Real Good Reasons To Sing The Bluesâ€ and â€œWeak Willed (And Easily Led)â€. 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 (â€œHacksaw Ragâ€ and the Reverend Gary Davisâ€™s â€œCincinatti Flow Ragâ€) and swing. Songs and instrumentals were intermingled, the latter including a beautifully played version of â€œSomewhere Over The Rainbowâ€ 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 â€œIt Should have Been Meâ€, before further evidence of Tobyâ€™s artistry was revealed with a terrific delivery of â€œThe Entertainerâ€. â€œFull-figured Womenâ€ re-engaged the chuckle muscles before a return to echoes of the Delta with â€œSouthern Cross The Dogâ€ 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 â€œTexas Tornadoâ€, â€œNineteen Years Oldâ€ and a final dose of humour in â€œGimme That On-line Religion (At G-O-D.com)â€. The richly deserved standing ovation was rewarded with a scintillating version of â€œI Know You Riderâ€, with another helping of intricate guitar work. The prodigious demand during the interval for Tobyâ€™s albums said it all: it really doesnâ€™t get any better than this.