Born: February 11, 1937 | Died: July 22, 2010 Primary Instrument: Guitar, electric
Around the age of sixteen, Phillip Walker became the lead guitarist of Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band in the 1950's. He radically changed Clifton's zydeco sound--one that had a fiddle as the instrument working with the accordion--to a sound where the accordion worked with a guitar. Phillip is widely credited with making this transition in the Clifton Chenier sound.
He was born in Louisiana but grew up in the Port Arthur, Texas area when he joined Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana band. His guitar picking style was an influence on people like Johnny Winter. He also played with Fats Domino and then replaced the late Jimi Hendrix in the lead guitar chair of the Little Richard Band. From there he started to move west and settled in El Paso, Texas for several years where he teamed up with Long John Hunter to play the border town area of El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. He finally ended up in Los Angeles and caught the attention of Playboy Magazine's Hugh Hefner who promptly signed him to be the first artist to be recorded on the old Playboy record label. Fifteen lps later he is still going strong. He has just signed a contract with Delta Groove Records in L.A. to record his next CD.
In the mid 1960's Phillip started to tour Europe with all star shows featuring people like Memphis Slim, Percy Mayfield, George Smith, Lowell Fulson and Screamin Jay Hawkins. They headlined all of the big festivals like Montreaux, North Sea, etc. When Phillip's Playboy label record (Bottom Of The Top) came out Hefner authorized a heavy PR Campaign in the Playboy Clubs in Europe. Soon Phillip was headlining the big festivals under his own name.
In the 1970's Phillip toured Japan with George “Harmonica Smith” where they recorded an album for the P-Vine label called “Live At The Pit Inn”.
Phillip Walker currently tours in two formats: a smaller band format with twin horns and a Big Band format with four horns, Hammond B-3, Piano, bass and drums. He is very well established in all of the European countries.
His bands are considered to be among the tightest and most powerful in the industry with players from the bands of Ray Charles, Soloman Burke, Little Milton, Taj Mahal and Big Joe Turner.