We gave Walter Trout £50: here's how he spent it

Walter Trout at Sister Ray in London
Walter Trout at Sister Ray in London (Image credit: Will Ireland)

“There’s a Ray Charles album I’d love to find,” says Walter Trout, as he eagerly flicks through the pioneering American singer/ composer’s records. And, despite its relative rarity, there is a copy. He seems quite moved. “My god, there it is…”

In issue 244 of Classic Rock, we took Walter Trout record shopping. We talked about his remarkable recovery from the illness that almost killed him in 2014. We talked about his childhood, and growing up with a stepfather who’d been a Japanese prisoner of war. We talked about his time as a drug smuggler.

And then Walter bought four albums.

Tim Buckley - Goodbye And Hello

“It came out [in 1967] when I was in the midst of some severe emotional turmoil. I was still in high school and dealing with my home situation. I was basically a lost soul, not real happy being alive, looking for some semblance of sanity in the world. I just sat and played my guitar. The song Morning Glory really spoke to me. It’s beautiful, and still emotional to me.”

Ray Charles - The Genius Of Ray Charles

“On his Atlantic Records albums he was literally inventing soul music: taking black church gospel songs, writing secular lyrics and turning them into secular music. He realised the emotional resonance and potency of black gospel church music, and figured if he could get that out to the public but not be religious he’d be on to something.”

Curtis Mayfield - Curtis

“One of the greatest shows I ever saw was Curtis in St Louis when I was with John Mayall on a night off, at a place called The Club. It was mind-blowing. He was also a great guitar player. He invented that style that Hendrix used on songs like The Wind Cries Mary – really soulful. And his songs were political statements – comments on racism, society and black struggle, like [Don’t Worry] If There Is A Hell Below, We’re All Going To Go.”

Big Star - Live

“I’m a good friend of [Big Star drummer] Jody Stephens, who also runs Ardent Studios. I recorded seven albums there. Chris Bell [late guitarist and singer] was a real troubled fellow and [late frontman] Alex Chilton went through a lot of phases. My twenty-one-year-old son, Mike, that’s his favourite band. The way we were with The Beatles, he’s like that with Big Star.”

You can read our full Walter Trout feature in Classic Rock 244. Buy it online or become a TeamRock+ member to read it right now.

Walter Trout - We’re All In This Together album review

Paul Lester

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.