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A secret worth spilling

Out of the Dark
Out of the Dark
By Walter "Wolfman" Washington

Rounder Records: 1988

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This review first appeared in the July 29, 1988 issue of the San Diego Evening Tribune.

The city of New Orleans must be this nation's best-kept musical secret. Professor Longhair was unknown outside the city until the decade before his death. Dr. John and Allan Toussaint are still strangers to all but the most hardcore music fans – as is guitarist Walter "Wolfman" Washington.

Washington's latest album features a couple of originals set off against excellent covers of songs by Otis Redding, Chick Willis and Buddy Johnson. But the two shiniest gems here are his versions of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "You Can Stay But the Noise Must Go" and Jimmy Hughes' "Steal Away."

Washington's highly syncopated guitar leads and funky, George Clinton-inspired vocals make "Out of the Dark" a unique, highly personable addition to contemporary blues. No matter whether he's playing a cover or one of his own pieces, the smoothly melodic arrangements and his rhythmic playing combine to make each song very much his own.