CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- His name is new to me, but Oklahoma native Derrick Big Walker has a substantial career as a musician and actor. He learned harmonica from Paul Butterfield and has performed and/or recorded with Lowell Fulsom, Michael Bloomfield, Big Mama Thornton and Eric Bibb.
On his latest release, Walker sets a dozen "Afro-American poems" from the 1700s to music. The result is one of the more "real" (and musically interesting) blues releases I've come across.
With titles like "Run Nigri Run," "Devil's Cloth," "Thirteenth Full Moon" and, simply, "Slave," the subject matter is deep. The musical framework is simple but effective (which, of course, is what blues is all about), alternating between the Chicago blues of Muddy Waters, the harp-driven country blues of Sonny Terry, country-swamp and even a bit of country-honk.
Well worth checking out!