Blues Legend Phillip Walker
By Zack Slovinsky
Special to the Sentinel
We are deeply saddened to report that blues legend Phillip Walker passed away Thursday morning at 4:30 am due to heart failure. The 73-year-old blues great was one of our very own southern California residents, living in South Central, Los Angeles.
Phillip moved to Calfornia from Port Arthur, Texas in 1959. In 1969 his recording career began to take off, as Bruce Bromberg (later Robert Cray’s producer) began championing him and put out some extremely high-quality records. In fact, one really can’t go wrong with any of the dozen or so Phillip Walker recordings that are currently on the market.
Phillip and his tight band toured the world consistently, thanks 100% to the ongoing efforts of his long-time manager, Tom Radai. I was personally really excited that we were able to hire Phillip to headline the 2009 Topanga Blues Festival. It is the ability to bring these talented musicians that live right in our own backyard to our Blues Fans, all too often our local talent have to tour internationally to gain the recognition they so deserve and I am sure like myself, those that attended that day in Topanga will treasure the memory of having seen a solid performance by a real-deal bluesman.
This is a tough loss for the Southern California blues community and the Board of Southern California Blues Society — our hearts are very heavy today.