San Francisco blues pilgrim Joe Louis Walker documents an eclectic career with a landmark album, assembling elements from his productive stabs at Delta and Chicago blues, slide acoustic and funk-rock, motor jazz and gospel. He even throws a taste of social commentary into the mix with the title cut of The Preacher and the President, which is mostly a tribute to (and graduation from) his preferred (and stricter) urban-pulpit forms of late. Sure to be criticized by some as lacking in depth, Walker
makes up for it in range, with viable demonstrations of influence by Buddy Guy
, B.B. King
, and old roommate Mike Bloomfield
. Those in the need of a smidge of convincing should cut directly to the way-down "Uhhh!" and the reassuringly lustful "Yveline," since "Repay My Love" wouldn't offend a fan of easy listening, and the oddly colorless "I Ain't Messin' Around" speaks accurately of itself: it ain't. Too bad -- Walker's restraint reminds many blues fans of the glossy filler of Robert Cray
rather than the gritty business of Otis Rush
or T-Bone Walker
, all considered influences of Walker's. A sturdy example of the multiple flavors of the modern blues.