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Release Info: Walter Wolfman Washington - Blue Moon Risin'
Walter is a long-time favorite in New Orleans, and he has done some great work, but he really outdid himself here. The horn section in "Blue Moon Rising" has that majestic feel of Coltrane's "Blue Trane", and his melody line in that song is a downward walk down the stairs of longing like no other melody line I have heard in a blues song - deliberate, pensive, refraining from the acrobatic vocal loop-de-loops of modern R&B / soul. His voice can be both smooth like a crooner and tormented like a screamer. Songs like "Stop and think" and "Glasshouse" left me hitting repeat many times after the first listen, and true to his birthplace, Walter writes lyrics that not only *mean* something (are you listening, pop world?) but also decry the troubles of this world without becoming larmoyant. If you don't listen to the lyrics, you might think "He Will See Us Through" is from Prince's Purple Rain rather than a wonderfully soulful, hopeful, and danceable *gospel* addressing someone who has lost a loved one. When the going gets tough in New Orleans, people go dancing, so the same music that makes your foot tap also makes your heart cry and open up. (Maybe we should build better levees instead of partying - get to that next life.)
The recording quality is the best of any of Walter's records, too many of which suffer from a low-budget sound. The mixture of funk, blues, and jazz here makes this record a quintessential Crescent City album. Walter's unmistakable NOLA accent ("when we foist met") tops off the authenticity, along with the references to NOLA in "Cadillac" ("from Uptown to the 9th Ward"). Do yourself a favor and kill two birds with one stone: buy one of the best records you'll ever own and support a real musician from New Orleans, one who still plays world-class music at local bars. Nobody represents the best of NOLA better than Walter!
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