Walter “Wolfman” Washington
My Future is My Past
Walter “Wolfman” Washington is a New Orleans icon. He learned by working with Ernie K. Doe, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas, and Johnny Adams among others. He is a blues, R n’ B, soul, jazz and funk master. Washington is usually heard with his band The Roadmasters or in a trio with organist Joe Krown and drummer Russell Batiste. Here he performs as a solo artist, trio or quartet with mostly Jazz players.
He goes it alone accompanying himself on guitar on Percy Mayfield’s “Lost My Mind”. It is an intimate presentation as Washington maintains his late night style. “I’m used to playing with another person. To do something like that by myself, I was kind of nervous… I had to really discipline myself where I couldn’t really underplay and really overplay, so I had to stay really in the middle which was a trick for me. I was amazed at my own self at how it turned out”. Washington goes solo again on Buddy Johnson’s “Save Your Love For Me”. “When you’re alone, you have to pay attention to your notes and pronunciation…And then you have to put your soul into it and your feelings”.
“Even Now” is songwriter David Egan’s masterpiece previously recorded by Adams. Here it is performed as a duet with Thomas. Washington and Thomas are emotionally moving and perfect together. They are backed by pianist David Torkanowsky, bassist James Singleton, and drummer Stanton Moore. On “What A Difference A Day Makes” Singleton’s bass is upfront and it makes for some exciting Jazz. Singleton and Moore also decorate “Steal Away”; Washington’s guitar has great tone as he takes his solo.
On the Doc Pomus/Dr. John “She’s Everything To Me” Washington reaches for his unique falsetto. He takes his time with every note. Ivan Neville is featured on organ. On Allen Toussaint’s “I Cried My Last Tear” Washington goes for those high notes again while Jon Cleary sits in on piano.
Washington closes with an original, “Are You The Lady”, once again featuring Torkanowsky, Singleton, and Moore. Washington can really croon. His affinity for Jazz was first made apparent on his 1991 Point Blank recording “Sada”. He reminds us what it is to live in New Orleans. Still this rare side of Washington is sublime. This album is a must to own.
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