Phillip Walker, R.I.P.
Blues guitarist and singer Phillip Walker, who played with Etta James, Lowell Fulson and Clifton Chenier and forged a singular blues style of his own, has died at the age of 73. Walker was born in Louisiana but spent his formative years in Port Arthur, the Texas hotbed of music that also incubated great talent like the Big Bopper, Johnny Winter and Janis Joplin.
Walker performed for more than 50 years, recording many solo albums and touring with zydeco legend Clifton Chenier for two years. In 1959 Walker moved to California, where he earned a reputation as one of the region’s top guitarists. He even joined Little Richard’s band for a brief time.
One of the highlights of Walker’s long recording history was 1999’s Lone Star Shootout, an award-winning collaboration with Southeast Texas homies Lonnie Brooks, Long John Hunter and Ervin Charles. The album was a celebration of the four guitarists’ work along the Texas-Louisiana border in the 1950s, crafting their own style of blues that would in later years resonate across the nation.