New Orleans sources are reporting the death of local, acclaimed blues musician Walter “Wolfman” Washington. He’d been a major player on that city’s musical scene for decades. Reports suggest that Walter died of cancer, just days after turning 79. He passed on Thursday December 22nd at New Orleans’ Passages Hospice.
Washington began his music career as a guitarist working with people like Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey and Johnny Adams. Washington became an integral member of Adams ‘ band before launching his own band, The Roadmasters, for whom he took lead vocals with a distinctive “howling” growl, hence his “Wolfman” nickname. Amongst The Roadmasters albums are’ Leader of the Pack’, ‘Wolf Tracks’, ‘Out of the Dark’, ‘Wolf at the Door’ and 1991’s ‘Sada’, named for his first daughter.
Though he toured Europe and the States, Washington was always more comfortable playing the clubs, bars and lounges of New Orleans . In 2018 he released his last album, ‘My Future Is My Past’ which featured a duet with Irma Thomas on the Johnny Adams song ‘Even Now’.
For the last year, Washington has been battling throat cancer. His wife Michelle has posted, “Nobody could tell what he was going through. He was a trooper to the end. He didn’t want people feeling sorry for him. He led an amazing life. He touched a lot of people and brought them a lot of joy.” In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Sada and Mamadou Washington, and a son, Brian Anderson.