The list of blues legends just seems to expand more and more each day. Here’s Donald Ray Johnson with some of the most robust, soul-stirring and real blues you could want at one time. His Travelin’ Man project has all the markings of a phenomenal stellar venture. There’s power, there’s grit, and plenty of funk, both in the music and his steely vocals.
To me, the blues is the earthiest of the "fathers" of music and I just happen to be one true disciple thanks to artists like Johnson who don’t seem to know any other way of expressing this genre outside of reaching down deep within and just releasing what lives there in all its passion.
Johnson, a Texas-born soul man now residing in Canada, states that: "This album is very special to me for several reasons. We lost quite a few of the legends I admired over the years: Ray Charles, Tyrone Davis, Johnnie Taylor and Little Milton." He goes on to point out the covers he provides here of tunes by three of these departed giants. All would have to agree that he did each splendid justice.
With a powerful band that could stack up against any other in the business, Johnson shoves through this mighty set with a determination only found in a man who has truly lived and breathed the blues. Picking favorites here would be a heavy task and I can only list those that I feel are most representative of the entire album’s mood. Tunes like the title and opening track "If Walls Could Talk," "Last Two Dollars," "Me & Jack (Daniels)" and "Yonder Wall" do a pretty good job of that. This is definitely one for the true aficionado of good and I mean down-and-dirty good blues.