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Walking the Blues

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iTunes Review

Released two years after Otis Spann’s death, 1972’s Walking the Blues features sides that date back to 1960. Taking a break from his day job in Muddy Waters’ band, the pianist proves equally gifted as singer and songwriter. The originals “It Must Have Been the Devil” and “Half Ain’t Been Told” highlight the contrast between big, powerful keys and deep, haunted vocals that define his inimitable style. Guitarist and Robert Johnson protégé Robert Lockwood, Jr., fills in the cracks with spare, oftentimes jazzy licks.

Customer Reviews


It is sad to know that people my age are only interested in 50 cent and Nickelback when there is incredible music like this hidden on back shelfs of record stores. I recently discovered Otis Spann and knew he had worked with Muddy Waters. Sadly, his music makes me wish I grew up in a different era, where talent was so pure and full of soul and sadness. A time when cutting a record didn't involve million dollar deals, but only making enough to just get by.

AMG Review

Walking the Blues is arguably the finest record Otis Spann ever cut, boasting 11 cuts of astounding blues piano. On several numbers, Spann is supported by guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood and their interaction is sympathetic, warm, and utterly inviting. Spann relies on originals here, from "Half Ain't Been Told" to "Walking the Blues," but he also throws in a few standards ("Goin' Down Slow," "My Home Is in the Delta") that help draw a fuller portrait of his musicianship. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Walking the Blues simply sounds great -- it's some of the finest blues piano you'll ever hear.


Born: March 21, 1930 in Jackson, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s

An integral member of the nonpareil Muddy Waters band of the 1950s and '60s, pianist Otis Spann took his sweet time in launching a full-fledged solo career. But his own discography is a satisfying one nonetheless, offering ample proof as to why so many aficionados considered him then and now Chicago's leading post-war blues pianist. Spann played on most of Waters' classic Chess waxings between 1953 and 1969, his rippling 88s providing the drive on Waters' seminal 1960 live version of "Got My Mojo...
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Walking the Blues, Otis Spann
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