RIP Phillip Walker

Posted on: Thursday, Jul 22, 2010

According to Tom Radai: PHILLIP WALKER HAS DIED 4:30am heart failure.

No further details at this time.



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Jimbo

July 22nd, 2010 at 22:01
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So gutted to read this, Phillip is one of my hero’s

R.I.P Great man, you’ll be sorely missed

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Ken

July 22nd, 2010 at 23:09
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ALLIGATOR RECORDS PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 22, 2010
CONTACT: Marc Lipkin / 773-973-7736 x235
EMAIL: publicity@allig.com
(high-resolution color jpeg available upon request)

AWARD-WINNING BLUES GUITARIST AND VOCALIST PHILLIP WALKER, 1937 – 2010

Celebrated blues guitarist and vocalist Phillip Walker passed away as the result of heart failure in Palm Springs, CA (near his hometown of Los Angeles) on July 22, 2010. He was 73. Over the course of his 50-plus year career, Walker recorded many solo albums, toured with zydeco master Clifton Chenier and played behind countless blues stars, including Etta James, Jimmy Reed and Lowell Fulson. He won a 1999 Blues Music Award for his collaboration with Lonnie Brooks and Long John Hunter, Lone Star Shootout (Alligator Records). Guitar Player describes Walker’s music as “big Texas blues meets West Coast cool…Walker roughs up B.B. King shouts, T-Bone Walker jumps, Cajun stomps and Lowell Fulson swing with terse, cutting guitar.”

Walker was considered to be among the finest Texas/West Coast style blues guitarists and vocalists. His melodic, stinging guitar and dry, drawling voice represented the essence of the sound that he grew up with in East Texas. After his move from Texas to California in 1959, he incorporated the sophisticated, jazzy sounds of the West Coast into his playing.

Walker was born in Welsh, Louisiana on February 11, 1937, and spent his formative years in Port Arthur, Texas. Determined to learn to play guitar as a teenager, Phillip soaked up the sounds of such Texas and Gulf Coast blues stars as T-Bone Walker, Gatemouth Brown, Lonesome Sundown, Ervin Charles, Guitar Junior (aka Lonnie Brooks) and Long John Hunter. In 1954, zydeco master Clifton Chenier invited the 17-year-old Walker to join his band. After a two-year stint with Chenier, Walker moved to El Paso, where he looked up his friend Long John Hunter. They quickly became the two most talked-about artists in the region, playing rowdy, take-no-prisoners venues like the Black and Tan Bar in El Paso and the Lobby Bar in Juarez, Mexico. While Hunter remained in Juarez, Walker journeyed west to Los Angeles in 1959, after being invited by producer J.R. Fulbright to cut a single for the California-based label, Elko Records.

After recording two singles for Elko, Walker began playing regular nightclub gigs throughout Los Angeles. He quickly earned a reputation as one of the West Coast’s finest guitar players, and in 1969, he even joined Little Richard’s band for a brief period. He met producer Bruce Bromberg and Bromberg’s songwriting partner, Dennis Walker (writers and producers of Robert Cray’s hits), that same year and began an association that would carry on into the late 1980s. Together they worked on a string of singles that were released on Vault, Fantasy, Bromberg’s Joliet Records and the new Playboy label. Walker toured Europe extensively, and went on to record albums for the Japanese P-Vine label and Rounder Records. 1988’s Blues (Hightone Records) was the first to feature the Dennis Walker composition Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (which later became the title track of a best-selling album for Robert Cray). Walker released an album in 1992 on the British JSP label before signing with Black Top Records in 1994, cutting two successful albums. In 1999, he joined his old pals Long John Hunter and Lonnie Brooks for Alligator’s award-winning Lone Star Shootout supersession. Throughout the 2000s Walker continued recording and touring, including an October 2009 tour of South Africa. His most recent CD, Going Back Home (Delta Groove Records), was released in 2007.

Funeral arrangements will be announced.

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Grahame

July 23rd, 2010 at 18:13
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Here is the press release from Delta Groove:

PHILLIP WALKER 1937-2010

It is with deepest sorrow that we report on the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary blues guitarist Phillip Walker. He died of apparent heart failure at 4:30 AM, early Thursday morning, July 22, 2010. He was 73 years old.

Born February 11, 1937 near Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the small town of Welsh, Phillip Walker’s earliest musical influences came via the Cajun and Creole rhythms he heard as a youngster. A second cousin to Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and huge admirer of T-Bone Walker, Phillip began making a name for himself in the early 1950s with his first recording session backing pianist Roscoe Gordon. At the age of 16, Walker left home to tour with Zydeco king Clifton Chenier (who incidentally gave the young fledgling Walker his first bona fide guitar) and never looked back.

After relocating to Los Angeles in 1959, Walker cut his first side as a bandleader; the storming “Hello My Darling”, produced by J.R. Fulbright for Elko Records. His first full length album didn’t appear until much later though. With the help of long-time supporter and producer Bruce Bromberg, Walker cut the excellent LP “The Bottom of the Top” in 1973 for Hugh Hefner’s short-lived Playboy label. Over the next three decades Walker’s musical career continued to pick up steam with numerous recording projects for HighTone, Black Top, Rounder, JSP and Alligator Records.

In 2007, Randy Chortkoff signed Phillip Walker to Delta Groove Music and released the critically acclaimed CD “Going Back Home”. The recording session featured the renowned guitarist going back to his roots and exploring the rich musical history of Louisiana, Texas and West Coast Blues on classic material by Lowell Fulson, Ray Charles, Lonesome Sundown, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Champion Jack Dupree and Frankie Lee Sims among others. Going Back Home was later awarded Best Album of 2007 in the New Recordings / Contemporary Blues category by the Living Blues Awards Critics’ Poll.

Label CEO Randy Chortkoff shared some of his fond remembrances of working with Phillip these last few years by stating “Phillip was a consummate gentleman and it was an absolute pleasure working with him over the years. It was a pleasure producing his last album “Going Back Home”. We chose the music on that album based on Phillip’s musical tastes and background. He especially enjoyed doing the Champion Jack Dupree song “Bad Blood”. It later became a standard in his live repertoire, in addition to one I wrote for him, “Lay You Down”. We also had a great time with him years ago at the Moulin Blues Festival in Holland where he performed with The Mannish Boys, and the again at Ground Zero in Clarksdale, Mississippi for our 3rd Annual Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue. There’s some great footage of him playing at Ground Zero that we hope to one day put out and share with everyone. He was definitely a one of a kind. He will be missed.”

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Grahame

July 24th, 2010 at 11:04
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