Fears grow for Walter

James Trimble.
James Trimble.

The recent weeks have brought some sad news for fans of blues rock and six string heroics.

Walter Trout, one of the genre’s finest guitarists, has been fighting for his life as liver disease turned the larger than life performer into a frail, bird-like shadow of his former self.

Currently awaiting a transplant, the former Canned Heat and John Mayall Bluesbreakers’ guitar slinger joked all those early years of drink and drugs had come back to bite him, despite the fact he has been sober now for decades.

I’ve been a fan of Walter ever since I saw him in Crewe’s Limelight Club around 12 years ago. I was working near Manchester at the time for a wee paper called ‘The Congleton Chronicle’ when I saw this poster of what looked like an off duty lumberjack or Hell’s Angel wielding a battle scarred old Stratocaster.

I somehow convinced the editor to give me the keys to the reporter’s car that weekend so I could go and review the show.

Walter was a force of nature and, unlike Eric von Clapton, actually looked like he was enjoying the show as much as the audience.

I started buying his albums and caught his live gigs whenever I could. Later it turned into an annual pilgrimage to the Renfrew Ferry with my wife, who also loved Walter and his amazing band.

Jeff Healey and Gary Moore fought alongside Walter in the blues rock trenches when Brit Pop and Grunge ruled the earth and now they have both shuffled off this mortal coil.

So I really hope Walter gets his transplant and recovers at least some of his powers. I’ll be online like a rocket for tickets to his comeback gig.