Various Artists: Blues For Big Walter (EllerSoul )

Stellar collection of gob iron specialists salute the master.

Various Artists: Blues For Big Walter album artwork

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Little Walter had the hits and the flash reputation, but as bandleader, soloist and musical visionary, it was the hulking Big Walter Horton who arguably had the edge. Belated recognition of Horton’s voluminous skills and soul-scorching power is delivered here in a righteous and expansive manner.

The many facets of his art – unerring delicacy and murderous intent (Mark Hummel’s Hard Hearted Woman) , searing rebuke and natural grace (Kim Wilson’s opening Someday) – are present in abundance. Sugar Ray Norcia’s 18-minute medley is a multi-flavoured suite blowing Walter’s legend through carousing good times, south of the border intrigue and transcendent release. Bob Corritore, Ronnie Owens and more all go the extra mile for a maestro, which is no more than Walter deserves.

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.