Monday, October 24, 2005

Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Solar System - You Got Me Worried (HEP' ME 161)

You Got Me Worried

In 1965 Walter Washington played guitar (yes, THAT guitar!) on Lee Dorsey's "Ride Your Pony". On October 1st of this year he became the first artist to perform live in post-Katrina New Orleans, plugging his amps into a generator at the fabled Maple Leaf Bar. The intervening years have seen him grow into one of the Crescent City's most loved and treasured institutions.

Walter (a nephew of Lightnin' Slim!) got his start playing in Dorsey's touring band and later joined Irma Thomas' group The Tornados. He continued to hone his chops, both as a bandleader and vocalist, playing backup for Johnny Adams for over 20 years (...their late night gigs at Dorothy's Medallion Lounge would become legendary!).

It was Adams who brought Walter to the attention of "Senator" Jones, the last true independent record man in New Orleans. Jones recorded two singles on him, and eventually released an album, "Leader of the Pack", on his HEP' ME label in 1981. Shortly thereafter the good Senator, frustrated by the corporate take-over of most of the local radio stations, threw up his hands and walked away.

We were talking to Walter one night in the late 80s after an incredibly smokin' set at TRAMPS in NYC, and asked him why he wouldn't play any of his Senator Jones era material. "That man owes me money!" was the reply. 'Nuff Said.

Most of Wolfman's HEP' ME recordings are available on CD (as are his later excellent ROUNDER releases), but once again today's entry, the flip side of "Good and Juicy" is nowhere in sight. It remains one of my all-time faves - the guitar, the vocals, 'dem Sam Henry Jr. horn charts - YEAH YOU RITE!

If you've never seen Walter and his current band The Roadmasters perform live, you owe it to yourself to check 'em out. They're the Real Deal!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

did I miss the date of release? Is the 45 from 1981 then?

Nice guitar and powerful vocals!


9:14 PM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

I figure it to be 1979 or 1980... the album was the A/Bs plus a few more tracks... I haven't seen a HEP' ME discography anywhere as yet... fellas?

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, this message actually belongs to the tracks further down the page but I decided to write this comment down here so that you don't miss it:

The first two tracks are fantastic!!
Instantly great, instantly in the current top 10!
And the Allen Toussaint should be in the all time top 20! ;-)

Thanks for the Chick track as I only knew his famous one.


9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not his famous one but his brother's one.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey again,

just wondering:
There's a Walter Washington & The Soul Powers "Pony Express Pt.1" 45 on Scram Records. Arranged by Eddie Bo, "produced" by Al Scramuzza, written by Bo and Scramuzza.
I don't know it.

Is it HIM? The same guy? Pretty much looks like it when you say that he knew Irma Thomas.


8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can answer the question myself now.
It is him.

He recorced one 45 on Scram (the aforementioned one), one 45 on Power and one 45 on Three Oaks.


8:11 PM  

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