JB Horns In Da House, Too
Wolfman & Da Band
"Glasshouse" (W. Washington - J. Cruz)
Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters, from Blue Moon Risin' (1995, 1999)
Been back in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s so long. . . how about something newer, the late 20th century anyway, from an enduring, still regularly gigging New Orleans soul/funk/blues outfit, Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters.
“Glasshouse” comes from Blue Moon Risin’, one of their best recordings, that was only released in Europe. The band has made a slew of good CDs over the past 20 years; but the draw on this one is that the JB Horns (Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis) are on it, augmented at times by the Roadmaster Horns (Tom Fitzpatrick, Larry Carter, and Dave Woodward), as is the case on this cut. Supposedly, this was the last recorded group appearance of the JB’s. Don’t know who wrote the happenin’ horn charts; but they are definitely worthy of the famous guests.
Though he can burn when he wants to, Mr. Washington’s vocal handling of the rather disposable lyrics seems hiply offhand here, in contrast to the band’s intense, tight, focused performance. Add Wilbert Arnold to your list of great New Orleans drummers, as he unleashes a high-energy, funky groove locked onto by long-time bass player and co-writer Jack Cruz, keyboardist Brian Mitchell, and the Wolfman himself on lead guitar. Other session guests include Pat Wettstein on percussion and Adrian Weyermann on rhythm guitar. I’ve seen this band live over at least the last 15 years and am always impressed by their chops and delivery of tasty arrangements on original songs and choice cover tunes. Guess that’s how they’ve remained popular at home and on the road. If you’re ever in the Home of the Groove or see that they’re playing in your vicinity, catch this band.
Walter Washington claims kinship with Ernie K-Doe and esteemed guitarist Walter Nelson. In his dues paying days, he played guitar in Lee Dorsey’s band for several years in the mid-1960’s before a stint in Irma Thomas’ ensemble. In the later 1960’s, he did session work in New Orleans, including the funk fretting on Eddie Bo’s hit workout, “The Hook & Sling”. Washington formed The Solar System in the 1970’s; and the band began backing another of the city’s premier singers, Johnny Adams, an association that continued into the early 1980’s. Having learned much from Adams, the Wolfman struck out on his own, making his first album for Hep’Me in 1981. He’s made seven more with the Roadmasters since then, including Blue Moon Risin’; and I’ve got more details about them over at Da Big Greasy Guide, if you’re interested. I’m glad I finally got around to bloggin’ some Wolfman & the Roadmasters, with the JB Horns for lagniappe.