Ben Walker's Blog: Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

posts about gigs, recordings, people, projects and inspiration

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Friends of Hugh Oliver

Posted by benwalker on October 13th, 2014 filed in Gig Reviews, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
1 Comment »


Catweazle and its Hosts

Posted by benwalker on September 11th, 2014 filed in CD Reviews, Gig Reviews, Michael Holt, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
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Ben Walker Duo – 26/08/14

Posted by benwalker on August 20th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
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So Hard

Posted by benwalker on August 19th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
2 Comments »


Acoustic Blanket

Posted by benwalker on August 8th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
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In the Future

Posted by benwalker on July 29th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
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When I Ain’t Got You

Posted by benwalker on July 18th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
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Broad Daylight

Posted by benwalker on July 7th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
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Ipswich

Posted by benwalker on May 10th, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
3 Comments »


Afghan Zoo

Posted by benwalker on May 2nd, 2014 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
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George Harrison: It’s What You Value

Posted by benwalker on March 3rd, 2014 filed in CD Reviews, George Harrison, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
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Playing in the Sun Parlour

Posted by benwalker on January 22nd, 2014 filed in CD Reviews, Gig Reviews, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Sunparlour Players, Toronto
2 Comments »


Gorgeous

Posted by benwalker on December 7th, 2013 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
1 Comment »


Diary of an Album: The Finish Line

Posted by benwalker on November 15th, 2013 filed in Diary of an Album, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
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Diary of an Album: Mixed-Up Confusion

Posted by benwalker on October 4th, 2013 filed in Diary of an Album, Happy Joe, Musician, Seb Agnello, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
2 Comments »


A Worm’s Eye View of English Musical Activity

Posted by benwalker on September 4th, 2013 filed in Al Lindsay, CD Reviews, Gig Reviews, Jazz, Kevin James, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, The Blow-Up, Toronto
6 Comments »


Diary of an Album: Madness in My Method

Posted by benwalker on June 3rd, 2013 filed in Diary of an Album, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
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Nilsson – The cure for Beatle Fixation Disorder?

Posted by benwalker on May 11th, 2013 filed in CD Reviews, Harry Nilsson, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
2 Comments »


Diary of an Album: Modest Targets

Posted by benwalker on March 22nd, 2013 filed in Ben and Gary's Ice Cream Band, Diary of an Album, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
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Colin Ward’s Legacy 3 Years On

Posted by benwalker on February 11th, 2013 filed in Colin Ward
2 Comments »


Diary of an Album: Bass Value

Posted by benwalker on January 25th, 2013 filed in Diary of an Album, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
2 Comments »


Diary of an Album: Vegeburgers' Jubilee

Posted by benwalker on November 30th, 2012 filed in Diary of an Album, Musician, Patrick Naylor, Singer-Songwriter, The Churchfitters, Toronto
1 Comment »


Diary of an Album: No Grant, No Problem!

Posted by benwalker on October 24th, 2012 filed in Diary of an Album, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
1 Comment »


Diary of an Album: Old Songs, New Start

Posted by benwalker on September 18th, 2012 filed in Ben and Gary's Ice Cream Band, Diary of an Album, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
5 Comments »


A Few Great Songs – Colin Hay

Posted by benwalker on May 16th, 2012 filed in Colin Hay, Gig Reviews, Toronto
4 Comments »


The Twang Dynasty by Deke Leonard

Posted by benwalker on March 9th, 2012 filed in Deke Leonard, Man
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The Acupuncturist (Live)

Posted by benwalker on February 2nd, 2012 filed in Ben and Gary's Ice Cream Band, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto, Videos
2 Comments »


A Gorgeous New Year

Posted by benwalker on January 1st, 2012 filed in Ben and Gary's Ice Cream Band, Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Toronto
1 Comment »


Shopping for Donuts

Posted by benwalker on October 11th, 2011 filed in Miscellaneous
2 Comments »


How I Became a Mac Man

Posted by benwalker on July 21st, 2011 filed in Fleetwood Mac
1 Comment »


Machari CD Launch April 2nd 2011

Posted by benwalker on March 21st, 2011 filed in Georgian Music
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Love in London

Posted by benwalker on March 1st, 2011 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Videos
1 Comment »


The Many Faces of Mr Black

Posted by benwalker on February 1st, 2011 filed in Ben and Gary's Ice Cream Band, Gare Black, Toronto, Videos
3 Comments »


Emergence of a Jazz Composer

Posted by benwalker on January 1st, 2011 filed in CD Reviews, Jazz, The Blow-Up
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Wise Words: the Dalai Lama at the Skydome

Posted by benwalker on November 1st, 2010 filed in Miscellaneous
4 Comments »


The Acoustic Punk

Posted by benwalker on October 1st, 2010 filed in CD Reviews, Happy Joe
1 Comment »


Remembering the Memorial

Posted by benwalker on August 19th, 2010 filed in Colin Ward
2 Comments »


Colin Ward (1924-2010)

Posted by benwalker on June 24th, 2010 filed in Colin Ward, Videos
15 Comments »


Great British songwriters who should be in the charts

Posted by benwalker on January 25th, 2010 filed in Al Lindsay, Bob Pearce, CD Reviews, Ember, Kevin James, The Deets
2 Comments »


Tbilisi Does It (for me)

Posted by benwalker on October 30th, 2009 filed in Georgian Music
6 Comments »


Womadic Lifestyle

Posted by benwalker on August 3rd, 2009 filed in Gig Reviews
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Radio Interviews

Posted by benwalker on June 12th, 2009 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter
1 Comment »


Great Canadian songwriters who should be in the charts

Posted by benwalker on May 10th, 2009 filed in CD Reviews, Peter Verity, Seb Agnello, Tim Harrison
1 Comment »


Hold On To Your Hard Times – Press Release

Posted by benwalker on March 17th, 2009 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter
1 Comment »


Great American songwriters who should be in the charts

Posted by benwalker on March 3rd, 2009 filed in Arlan Feiles, CD Reviews, Happy Joe, Michael Holt, The Kimballs
1 Comment »


Men With Guitars – Acoustic Music Night at The Kings Head, Pebmarsh, Essex, 17.10.08 + Man at The Musician, Leicester, 18.10.08

Posted by benwalker on October 23rd, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Man
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‘Kill or Cure’ : The Official Launch Report

Posted by benwalker on September 25th, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Musician, Singer-Songwriter
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Daylight Dog play ‘Kill or Cure’

Posted by benwalker on August 29th, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Musician, Singer-Songwriter
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Mela Moments – Darren Dutson-Bromley, Adrian Byron Burns, Baluji Shrivistav, Bradford Mela, 14.06.08

Posted by benwalker on June 26th, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Jazz
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An Orphan’s Song on YouTube

Posted by admin on June 16th, 2008 filed in Musician, Singer-Songwriter, Stuart Ross, Toronto, Videos
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Quaint Strangers – Jim Eldon, Ukranian Club, Keighley, West Yorkshire, 09.05.08

Posted by benwalker on May 13th, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Jim Eldon
1 Comment »


Scratching the Itch – Seb Agnello, The Black Swan, Toronto, 29.02.08

Posted by benwalker on February 29th, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Seb Agnello, Toronto
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Resistance Isn’t Futile – Unit of Resistance, The Packhorse, Leeds, 23.01.08

Posted by benwalker on January 23rd, 2008 filed in Gig Reviews, Jazz, Rinkadon
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Orchestral Manoeuvres – Rob Sayles/The Hard Time Orchestra, The Packhorse, Leeds, 12.12.07

Posted by benwalker on December 12th, 2007 filed in Gig Reviews, Rinkadon
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What Presents… – Viper’s Dream, The Red Hedgehog, Highgate, 02.12.07

Posted by benwalker on December 2nd, 2007 filed in Gig Reviews, Jazz, Patrick Naylor, Viper's Dream
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Made to Marvel At – Ember, Otley Folk Club, West Yorks, 11.10.07

Posted by benwalker on October 11th, 2007 filed in Ember, Gig Reviews
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Music or Muzak? – Rent, The Love Apple, Bradford, 29.09.07

Posted by benwalker on September 29th, 2007 filed in Gig Reviews
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Bohemia Without the Bureaucrats What Love/Stockpot Stopcock, The Packhorse, Leeds, 18.09.07

Posted by benwalker on September 18th, 2007 filed in Gig Reviews, Jazz, Rinkadon
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Ignorance Isn’t Bliss – Al Lindsay, Kesgrave Music Day, 04.08.07

Posted by benwalker on August 4th, 2007 filed in Al Lindsay, Gig Reviews
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ALBUMS:

Gorgeous (2014)


paypal button

Plastic East by Jill Caporlingua

Kill or Cure (2008)

Kill or Cure

An Orphan’s Song (2008)

An Orphan's Song

Bahaudin (2001)


Bahaudin

LINKS:





ABOUT:

Ben Walker was born Benjamin Ward in London, England in 1968, moving to the county of Suffolk in 1980. He studied classical piano at Colchester Instute, jazz piano at Leeds College of Music and jazz singing and mandolin at Middlesex University and William Paterson College, New Jersey, gaining a first class degree in Performance Arts from Middlesex University in 1994.

Walker started writing songs in 1983 and making cassette albums in 1990. His first CD, ‘Bahaudin’, was recorded at Frog Studios, Warrington, Cheshire in 1999/2000. A steady period of gigs and appearances in West Yorkshire, Suffolk, London, New Jersey and Toronto from 2002-6 was followed by a creative period that culminated in the release of 2 new CDs – ‘An Orphan’s Song: Ben Walker Sings Stuart Ross’ and ‘Kill or Cure’ in 2008.

Walker moved to Toronto in 2010 , appearing with Gare Black and Alfred Gertler as ‘Ben and Gary’s Ice Cream Band’ in 2011/12. His latest CD, ‘Gorgeous’, is a reworking of 12 songs from his early cassette albums recorded and produced by Walker and featuring his customary diverse selection of styles and musicians.

Ben Walker has worked with members of Lindisfarne, 10cc, New Model Army, Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and The Sunparlour Players as well as noted jazz and folk musicians Nigel Stonier, Patrick Naylor, Kevin James and David French. Walker is currently appearing with guitarist James Rohr as The Ben Walker Duo.

REVIEWS:

KILL OR CURE(2008)

Having been on the folk scene in the UK and abroad for over ten years, and having played gigs all over the world, Ben is now based in Bradford, and launched his new CD Kill or Cure in Leeds. With excellent lyrics and a fantastic duet with Kate Peters on the fantastic Hold On To Your Hard Times, this is a brilliant CD.

(With) some fantastic harmonies, great guitar picking and vocal and musical arrangements that are McCartneyesque in parts, with a lyrical bite of Richard Thompson and veering from style to style, this is a stunning album and well worth investigating.

Journal of the Classic Rock Society, August 2009

Ben Walker illustrates his talented skills as a musician as he sings effortlessly on Kill or Cure. Walker also plays piano, electric guitar and bouzouki, all to a high standard, which seems flawless. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day is a great song to put on every night before you retire for bed, as it unwinds and relaxes you. In a way, after listening to the peaceful song, I felt cleansed from my bad energies.

Vocally, Walker has a soothing and calming voice and he knows exactly how to use it to his benefit. I can definitely see a selection of songs such as God gaining airplay on radio stations such as Magic and BBC2 (sic.) Overall this is a fine piece of work Ben has put together with the help of his band.

Maverick Magazine, September 2009

Ben Walker’s sixth album consolidates his reputation as a bit of an underground star. The London-born, West Yorkshire-based songwriter has assembled a stellar bunch of musicians including Derek Nash (Eric Clapton, Jools Holland), whose playing floats above ‘Love in London’, to realize his eclectic mix of pop, rock and jazz

The melodies are wonderfully engaging, especially ‘Hold On To Your Hard Times’, featuring a strong vocal from Kate Peters, and ‘Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day’, while lyrically we’re into some dark territory. Walker deserves his shot.

R2 Magazine, September 2009

AN ORPHAN’S SONG: BEN WALKER SINGS STUART ROSS(2008)

Ben Walker really must love Stuart Ross’s work because, unless you’re Leonard Cohen, releasing a CD of poetry set to music is a commercially risky venture, to say the least. But it’s obvious there’s much love in this collection of tunes appropriated (with a bit of editing) from four of Stu’s small-press poetry collections, with the UK-based Walker lending not only vocals but also acting as a one-man band.

Stuart often seems perplexed when people say they find some of his surreal poetry funny. Well, funny a lot of it is, and many of the poems are even funnier when set to music. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Ron Padgett” is pure genius. No. 1 with a silver bullet.

Taddle Creek Magazine, 2008

IF YOU WANT LOVE (HAVE MINE)(2004)

Ben’s soft-rock sound has been recorded on what many would now consider an old-fashioned setup, but it’s still a perfectly capable one. Only one song was recorded on the Cubase system as a bit of an experiment, while the rest of the demo was recorded to ADAT.

The warm electric bass and unfussy electric guitar sounds show a production approach which leans towards the ‘live in the studio’ style of demo. Ben’s website confirms that this was what he was aiming for, and the CD has a certain charm which might have been lost had he gone for a more polished sound. Having said that, some obvious extras would improve the arrangements. For example, the second verse and bridge on the first track (If You Want Love) badly need backing vocals or some of the excellent brass playing from the third verse to lift them dynamically.

The second song (Don’t Interfere With Beauty) has an early Beatles feel, courtesy of the simple harmonica line echoing the sung melodies. It also features a slightly more animated vocal performance from Ben, and he could have capitalised on this lift in energy level with a sharper EQ on the brass. Yet as it stands, the combination of electric piano and brass creates a smoky club atmosphere that still works well

Having enjoyed the fairly under-produced sound of the band, it was interesting to hear a more complex and modern approach on the fourth track (Altitude). This incorporates a busy drum loop and sampled bass with some atmospheric keyboard work. The sound of the vocal is helped by what is obviously a better microphone than the one used on the preceding tracks, but band bassist Nick Aynsley should have been drafted in for the session — he could have provided a much better groove than the bass samples do. Overall, the recording quality is better on this fourth track but as it’s in contrast to the live and loose feel of the rest of the tracks, it comes over as a bit of an experiment.

Sound on Sound, April 2005

BAHAUDIN(2001)

Enigmatic hooded figure walking amongst northern mills is the image presented. The music is not so enigmatic, having at times a blues feel and at other times a soft rock feel, the whole mounted in a setting of eight very capable backing musicians. The lyrics have the feeling of angst, a traditional feeling beloved of the singer-songwriter, and one or two are amusingly quirky (‘I got room for manoeuvre/ I got space to spare/ I got dust in my hoover/ Ice in my frigidaire’)

Track 5, ‘Feel Like Gideon’, has (the narrator) not being satisfied but, unlike Gideon, he doesn’t “defeat an army, numbered like locusts, with only 300 men “. Slightly disappointing.

‘The Poisoned Heart’ hits the country and western trail but has a comforting scales-falling-from-eyes ending. This might be a religious allegory…or I missed the point, which isn’t at all unusual…proving that Ben’s songs can work on different levels, but whatever the intellectual level, it’s a good song.

The title is enigmatic also, being the name of a Sufi master (Bahaudin Naqshband, died c1389), credited with having “returned to the original principles and practices of Sufism”. I mention this as it is the title of the CD, but the CD is not suffused with Sufism, that I noticed.

All in all, a very pleasing set from this drum-and-guitar-based band, not very folky, or even acoustic, but entertaining.

Tykes News, Summer 2004

WARM AND NORMAL(1993)

Ben Ward, a native Englishman who we first met when he showed up at a jam we were hosting, blew the socks off the audience with his provocative songs, sung accompanied only by his earnest mandolin playing.

When we met Ward he was a student on vacation who was becoming increasingly reluctant to go home. The way people responded to his material, and meeting people he came to care about, worked their magic.

The realities of immigration/exportation prevailed last summer, so for many months, Ward and his music were just a memory, accompanied by a postcard. Then, at Christmas, he reappeared at a favourite jam venue – West Side Johnny’s – with a copy of this tape, recorded in the UK, in hand.

We choose this time to devote this space to give Ward two thumbs up for this tape. We know Ward will be back: he may be part of this future Toronto scene developing; this could be a hot collector’s item someday. Oh ya, in case we forgot to mention it, the music and tunes are awesome!

Gary 17, T.O. Nite, January 1994

TEACHING:

  1. Jazz/Folk/Rock Singing
  2. Classical/Improv Piano or Keyboards
  3. Folk Guitar or Mandolin
  4. Music Theory (any level)

20$ per 40 minute lesson at my studio in west Toronto
30$ per 40 minute lesson in your home (GTA only)

CONTACT:

benbahaudin@yahoo.com