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Walter Trout: The Blues Came Callin'

Cathartic, life-affirming songs from ailing blues veteran.

Stricken with a disease that put him in hospital awaiting a liver transplant, Walter Trout was not about to go gently into the dark night. On his last album, Luther’s Blues, Trout played out of his skin in a tribute to late guiding light Luther Allison. This time round, the main focus – specifically on the title track, Wastin’ Away and The Bottom Of The River – is on Trout’s own predicament.

Cue impassioned playing and the death-defying metaphors of The Bottom Of The River – which, fittingly, invokes Delta mystery as Walter’s fiery electric, acoustic slide and lonesome mouth harp colour the blues.

Twenty-five years into his career, Trout knows how the blues comes in many flavours and moods. Epic covers of JB Lenoir’s The Whale and Chuck Berry’s Take A Little Time pay tribute to the roots of his world view. The latter features Walter’s former employer John Mayall, who is also on hand for Mayall’s Piano Boogie.

Add the ferocious Willie, a gripping takedown of industry dirty dealing, and the long, slow, sizzling and sensual finale Nobody Moves Me Like You Do and The Blues Came Callin’ is a fully rounded triumph in the face of adversity.

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.