Wily Bo Walker & E.D. Brayshaw – The Roads We Ride
2 discs, 6 and 7 tracks respectively
Film noir script? Pulp fiction novel? One story, two paths and three people is what’s claimed. Lots of accompanying materials support the two CDs as Scottish born Wily Bo Walker joins up guitarist E.D. Bradshaw for this storybook of an album. Walker’s website credits his work as Rock, Blues, Gospel, Soul, Classic R&B, Jazz, AAA and Americana and it’ that and more. Most of what we hear here is rock laced with all the other stuff.
Walker handles the vocals and storytelling, Bradshaw wails on the guitars, does the instrumentation and does backing vocals as do a few others here and there. . It’s quite the undertaking for two guys.
“Storm Warning” opens the first CD, a driving rocker showcasing Bradshaw’s guitar and Walker’s gritty vocal style. Haunting backing vocals are also featured. “I Want To Know” follows. It’s low keyed with lots of organ, more subdued guitar and harmonizing vocals. “Motel Blues” is a Loudon Wainwright tune with a bit of a country of even rockabilly flair. Walker growls the lyrics out then Bradshaw goes into another big solo before Walker takes us home. “Loan Me A Dime” is a Fenton Robinson song from Alligator Records in 1974. It gets transformed from upbeat Chicago blues to a very down tempo and downtrodden sort of cut. Haunting and slow, it’s interesting. Bradshaw solos mid song and closes it out with his guitar. “September Red” continues the down tempo theme in another dark cut. The organ and piano support is well done and the solo guitar takes up most of the latter half of the song. “Killers On The Run” picks up the tempo a bit and has lots of cool backing vocals. Bradshaw again does a full frontal guitar assault. At 9-1/2 minutes, it’s a massive story unto itself.
“Running Wild” gets the second disc started. It’s a rocking cut heavily laden with guitar as is the following “Night Is A Hunter.” Massive guitar solos and hard rocking licks abound. Next is “Tennessee Blues” which turns the heat way down; it’s got a pretty intro; the lyrics are a bit muffled in delivery but it’s still a nice, country blues rocker. “After The Storm” is a gritty cut with a driving beat with more big guitar and some good organ accompaniment. “The Ballad of Johnny and Louise” is a long story that starts off lower keyed but builds into a huge guitar wall of sound. “The Roads We Ride” is acoustic guitar and somewhat of a ballad to begin. It transforms into electric guitars and builds into much more than a ballad. The opening track of the first CD is reprised briefly to close. It’s a mellow and acoustic that takes us home to an abrupt ending.
Except for the two covers credited above, Bradshaw and/or Walker wrote the rest of the cuts. The cuts run over into each other to give it an LP sort of sound. If you’re into the eclectic and like heavy duty electric guitar and riffs galore, then this one may be for you! It’s dark, it’s interesting and it’s got a lot of rocking guitar and gritty vocals.