The Wailin' Walker Band plays good-time boogie and they play it well. This Vancouver group's new CD rocks nonstop, with high energy and a clean, bright sound.
"Tryin' to Find my Baby," the opening track, shows Big Al Walker's band at their best. The singer/guitarist plays T-Bone Walker-style licks over a rolling groove, punctuated by simple but effective horn riffs. This is dance music, pure and simple.
Walker wrote most of the tunes here and, when he hits on a good lyrical theme like "While You're Down There," the results are memorable. This slow burning blues has Hammond B-3 organ and electric guitar meshing to create a densely textured sound while the vocals are reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
An instrumental, "Dawn 'til Dusk," highlighted some nice jagged soloing by Big Al. Another guitar showcase, "Devil Made Me Play," is even hotter but, unfortunately, is less than two minutes long.
Other than those two workouts, the band adheres rather slavishly to the boogie formula, which makes the disc sound repetitious. Songs like "Gasoline Alley" and "Down the Highway" lack anything special to elevate them above the routine.
"Boogie with Ya," which appears in two different takes, is the type of live crowd-pleaser that sounds merely clichéd on record (the lyrical hook is "I want to boogie with ya baby"). On the other hand, it might work as a beer commercial...