No stranger to the pages of Bluesdoodles, Wily Bo Walker recently performed with his Acoustic Band at the beautiful (and acoustically brilliant) Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in the village of Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire.
He has decided to share a single called Long Way To Heaven (The Ballad of Johnny and Louise) from that performance which, on the albums Ain’t No Man A Good Man (Deluxe) and Almost Transparent Blues, was a gospel song of some note: as I said then, “a piano intro with The Brown Sisters providing choral vocals before the growling Wily cuts in. A lovely song that comes across as Joe Cocker meets Van the Man and it would fit right into their sets too: it is that good.”
On this live acoustic version, it loses none of its majesty as long time cohort ED Brayshaw adds his guitar and vocal prowess to Wily Bo’s. Backed by Lyle Zimmerman on mandolin, Gary Bridgewood on fiddle, Clarky on bass and Emanuele Marchetti on drums, they transform it into a layered and quite beautiful version. This story of Johnny and Louise works very well and is performed with panache and feeling and, as the sound was taken straight from the mixer desk, it is high quality too.
I may already have two copies of this song, but this new one is more than a worthwhile addition to the Wily Bo experience. Now, where’s the rest of the gig Wily?