Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
The proof is in the pickin’. And the pickin’ on Walkin’ Shoes is blissful. Very heavily blues influenced outlaw country that rivals anything or anyone doing the same right now. This definitely takes me back to the late 50’s and early 60s, in some spots, when rockabilly was the king. And Elvis was king also. Rockabilly and Elvis shared the kingdom. There are other moments where I transport into the late 70s.
I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t at least mention the link between Ted Russell Kamp and Waylon. The voices are not even close. But the writing, tempo, and musical accompaniment really makes me miss Waylon that much more. Ted does fill some of the void, but his authenticity makes me pine for the original.
Most of the songs revolve around the theme of being on the road. Being a troubadour. A pied piper, if you will, bringing the music to the people and making them dance and follow. Paid By The Mile (Track 2) is one such number. It is a celebration and also a cautionary tail about being on the road. The intro to Paid By The Mile is what initially grabbed me and put the hold on me. That opening riff is very reminiscent of the riff in Freddie Kings “I’m Going Down”. Nothing gets me going like that song so when I hear something close, it evokes the same feelings and emotions.
No outlaw country collection would be complete without a drinking song and Ted does not disappoint. Less Thinking, More Drinkin’ (Track 12) sounds like a mardi gras tune with plenty of Nola horns and a very jazzy and bluesy backdrop that puts me squarely on Decatur street in the Quarter. The horn section ads the perfect “Loosiana” touch and the slide guitar fits right in there.
Travelling song, check. Drinking song, check. That leaves only one category left, the heartbreak song. Heart Under Pressure (Track 5) sort of qualifies as a heartache song. Well, that’s my take on it, and I am going to run with it. The moral of the story is that our heart is a muscle and it won’t let us down, even though it feels like it might. Another way of looking at this is “health is wealth”. If you have good health, nothing can stop you, except our own selves.
Listening to Walkin’ Shoes is like the hot tub time machine. Instead of taking me to 1985, this record time machine lands on 1977 or 1960 every time. I am going to “borrow” a quote from the late Hunter S.Thompson. Pay the ticket, take the ride or buy the album, take the ride. It will be a ride that bears repeating.