Monday, August 8, 2011
08/05/11 Little Toby Walker
Little Toby Walker performed in the parking lot of the Hauppauge Library. He didn’t miss a beat. From the moment Toby Walker stepped on stage his fiery fingers began working that guitar—an old Gibson, an American steel, and a twelve string to be exact—as he took us up and down the Delta through the South along highway 66 and up into Chicago, playing Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and more, while also educating us like John Lomax once did, and mesmerizing us with his personal inventiveness (it’s never just Muddy Waters, but Muddy played Toby style) and entertaining us with his personal stories that invariably lean playfully toward double entendre. Little Toby Walker is a Long Island treasure, now living in New Jersey. What makes Toby so interesting and electrifying as a performer is that he’s the whole deal: all ten fingers are moving, the thumb acting as the bass, the index, middle and ring fingers as rhythm and lead, while his left hand is using every fret to perfection, playing the blues or slide guitar, so that if you closed your eyes you’d think there was a full band in session and not the one and only Toby Walker.