Walker is unusual on at least two counts: His nickname --
which he hates -- derives from one of Mississippi's
most notorious governors and senators, the rabid segregationist
Theodore Bilbo, and his major musical influence is Chuck Berry.
(Another nickname was Chuck Berry Jr.) There are other anomalies
as well. After years of gigging and scuffling in Clarksdale and,
later, Chicago, he ultimately wound up in Bakersfield, California,
where he says he prefers farming to making music. Other artists
who left their mark on him include Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and
Robert "Bilbo" Walker
Rooster Blues 2632
Walker, however, is no imitator, and Promised Land is an
engaging effort by this 60-year-old who puts his very personal
stamp on songs by Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Magic Sam, Waters, and,
of course, Berry, whose entertaining saga of a "poor boy"
on the move to California provides the title track. With the bare-bones,
roadhouse-rough accompaniment of bassist David "Pecan"
Porter and drummer Sam Carr (with fellow Jelly Roll King Frank
Frost playing organ on three tracks), Walker's enthusiasm
for his music quickly wins you over.
-- Miles Jordan
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