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24.1.11

Walter Robinson


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Walter Robinson - Haze Of Purple - 2004 - Brameldon Productions

Walter Robinson fashion an approach to Power blues after the great musicians of today and yesterday. Walter Robinson, the front man of the group, has a natural tendency to interpret music with the rhythm and blues feeling that lends the same soul to his singing, rhythm and lead guitar playing, that was the life bloody of Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and many other greats. 1996 - 2011 CD Universe http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7161818&desc=1

A good album of Jimi Hendrix style blues and jams from the Goldsboro, N.C. born Walter Robinson. A Jimi Hendrix devotee, Walter plays guitar left handed, and uses a right handed guitar so his guitar is upside down. At the time of this release Walter was an owner of Pharaoh's Rock N' Blues Bar & Grill on Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC. He also led the house band at this establishment. The guy can really play. Walter has said "Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton -- I love 'em all, but Hendrix just seems to come out. People see you pick [a guitar] up left-handed and they yell, 'Hendrix!' " But, he says, he also likes sticking more obscure tunes on his trio's set lists. "Gary Moore, Herbie Hancock's 'Chameleon' . . . there's a lot of young ones who've never heard [Freddie King's] 'I'm Tore Down' or [Santana's] 'Evil Ways.' This may be the only release by Walter but it's a great demonstration of his talents and well worth hearing

TRACKS

1 Stay Alive
2 Way Cross Egypt
3 Mr. Lucky
4 Hold On
5 Syphax Groove
6 Sleepless Blues
7 Must Be From Heaven
8 Raining In Chicago
9 Valley Of The Kings

BAND

Walter Robinson - Guitar, Vocals
Phil Williams - Bass
George Belton - Drums

ABOUT WALTER ROBINSON

"SIR" WALTER Robinson plays his right-handed guitar upside down -- just like his idol, Jimi Hendrix. A Native American dream catcher hangs from his Stratocaster's neck. He sings in the same husky tenor and wears a black bolero hat pulled low over his eyes. It's no surprise that every time I've visited Pharaoh's Rock N' Blues Bar & Grill (1817 Columbia Rd. NW; 202-232-6009), where Robinson is an owner and leader of the house band, I've heard the Walter Robinson Band roar through a few Hendrix tunes, vamping on "Changes" or stretching out the epic "All Along the Watchtower." Not that I'm complaining: Robinson is an excellent guitar player, who moves seamlessly from wailing psychedelic jams to nimble, soulful blues riffs and plays with passion, whether he's doing justice to Cream's "Crossroads," a funky version of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" or B.B. King-style standards such as "Goin' to Chicago." Robinson has brought his blues-drenched classic rock and R&B to a number of local venues over the years: a regular gig at Chick Hall's Surf Club in Bladensburg, the D.C. Blues Festival, a spot hosting the open mike at the 94th Aerosquadron in College Park. Robinson and his band even recorded an album called "Haze of Purple" (no points for subtlety there), but he wasn't playing out as often as he liked. "We were trying to get him gigs, and it was really difficult," says his partner, Pam Kinser. "So we just said, 'Let's open our own place.' " Pharaoh's, which the couple took over just before Christmas and opened in February, is basically everything they dreamed of: a stage where Robinson and his band can perform on Fridays and Saturdays, a bar with a comfortable, unpretentious vibe where the ghosts of classic rock hang heavy in the air. Large tapestries depicting Jim Morrison and Jerry Garcia hang alongside posters of Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson and Texas legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. One wall contains reproductions of classic albums by Grand Funk Railroad, Jeff Beck and Ten Years After, as well as Egyptian-style art, which reflects Robinson's 15-year study of Egyptology. Some of the photos have come straight from the centerfold of Guitar World magazine and are just nailed to the wall. It's all reminiscent of a college dorm, which is fine with Robinson. "I had a lot of fun in my college dorm!" he laughs. It's yet another reason why I've enjoyed spending time at Pharaoh's: Robinson and Kinser are friendly folks who didn't try to create yet another stylish lounge or scope out the latest trends before unveiling the club. They simply created a bar where, if they weren't running it, they'd like to hang out. Some nights, college students wander in, make requests for Grateful Dead songs and boogie on the small dance floor. Other weekends find Pharaoh's is packed with music lovers a generation older, who jitterbug when the mood strikes. Pharaoh's doesn't feel like Adams Morgan at all, though you're just steps from the buzzing, rowdy strip. "People of all ages love all types of music," Robinson says simply, adding that the neighborhood's foot traffic has drawn in visitors from as far afield as Milwaukee and the Netherlands. "We get lots of out-of-towners," Kinser says, "so we send them back home with CDs." A native of Goldsboro, N.C., Robinson credits his musical development to his childhood as an Air Force brat. "We lived in Turkey, Spain -- all over," he says. "We didn't have TV in those countries, so we listened to the radio. Blues, rock, jazz -- we got exposed to a lot of music, a lot of rock." When the family returned from Europe in the mid '60s, settling in Syracuse, N.Y., Robinson developed a love of R&B. "James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone -- and we got into that really heavily." Eventually, he discovered Jimi Hendrix, Cream and the Allman Brothers. Robinson says he came from a musical family, but he didn't get serious about the guitar until his early twenties. ("That was about 25 years ago," Kinser helpfully adds.) The highlight of his career, Robinson says, came in the early '80s, when he was invited to jam and rehearse with legendary guitarist Gregg Allman and his band. Over time, though, Robinson kept coming back to one particular influence. "Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton -- I love 'em all, but Hendrix just seems to come out. People see you pick [a guitar] up left-handed and they yell, 'Hendrix!' " But, he says, he also likes sticking more obscure tunes on his trio's set lists. "Gary Moore, Herbie Hancock's 'Chameleon' . . . there's a lot of young ones who've never heard [Freddie King's] 'I'm Tore Down' or [Santana's] 'Evil Ways.' " Pharaoh's offers a jam session on Thursdays, but the pace is slower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when there's no live music. Up a half-flight of stairs is a small, low-ceiling lounge with more seats and tables littered with checkers, Connect Four, Trivial Pursuit and other board games. (If Robinson isn't on stage, you may find him playing backgammon with Kinser.) If it's not too crowded, the staff may put a classic James Brown or Allman Brothers DVD on the flat-screen televisions around the bar and turn up the sound. Drinks are reasonably priced, and the specials are as good as you'll find in the neighborhood: Saturday night, for example, includes $2 domestic beers for women and $2.50 Pabst Blue Ribbons for men all night. In coming months, Robinson says, he'd like to start booking more bands and maybe take the occasional weekend off -- not because he's tired, but because he remembers what it was like before he had a guaranteed gig. "It's hard if you don't have connections or you're not in the inner circle," he says. "If you're practicing and you don't have anywhere to go and show your talent, it's frustrating. I was one of those guys sitting at home on a Friday night, going, 'Why didn't they call me?' I guess you got to do it yourself in the world today." By & © Fritz Hahn Special to The Washington Post from the article "On the Town Pharoah's, Treating Hendrix Royally Friday, September 23, 2005 © 1996-2011 The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/22/AR2005092200603.html

3 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

p/w aoofc

guinea pig said...

Thanks!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,GP (Numero Uno!). Thanks. Excuse me while I kiss the sky! (LOL)! TTU soon