Derrick “Big Walker” Walker really has some impressive history. He was born in Oklahoma, moved to San Francisco in the 60’s, and now lives in Sweden. With that kind of life experience, it’s easy to see how a wide array of influence comes out in his music. In California, he met Michael Bloomfield and began working with him, as well as other famous blues acts such as Big Mama Thorton and Luther Tucker.
“It’s Hard” takes us into this Americana blues album with a steady-paced toe tapping beat. Walker is singing about life and how “nothing’s made to last.” While his vocal range isn’t that impressive, it isn’t off-putting enough to make the song not enjoyable.
“Raise a Ruckus” is a fast tempo number with prominent harmonica work and a chorus singing backup. It really reflects its name and gets the listener’s blood pumping.
Taking it right back to the 1700-1800 era, “Run Nigri Run” reflects an Afro-American poem telling of slavery trials and tribulations. This song, as well as “Devil’s Cloth” and “Slave,” are the most prominent of these songs on the album, especially with the gospel choir singing.
Most songs on Root Walking are very much in the Roots and Americana style of music, but when the intro of “Thirteenth Full Moon” comes around, it sounds like something straight off of a Jimi Hendrix album.
This album has a bit of everything for music lovers - Blues, gospel, historical representation, a little jazz, rock & roll. If down-home roots music is your thing, you’ll really like this album. If down-home roots music isn’t your thing, you’ll still probably like this album. But if not, you still have to respect its worth.
September 12, 2012