Walter "Wolfman" Washington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walter "Wolfman" Washington
Washington at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 2008
Washington at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 2008
Background information
Birth nameWalter Washington
Born(1943-12-20)December 20, 1943
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedDecember 22, 2022(2022-12-22) (aged 79)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, singer
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1962–2022
LabelsHep' Me, Maison de Soul, Rounder, Point Blank, Bullseye Blues, Zoho Roots

Walter "Wolfman" Washington (December 20, 1943 – December 22, 2022) was an American singer and guitarist, based in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. While his roots were in blues music, he blended in the essence of funk and R&B to create his own unique sound.


Washington was born in New Orleans, and whilst still in his teens, he was invited to play in Lee Dorsey's band.[1]

In the mid-1960s, Washington formed the All Fools Band, and played at clubs in New Orleans.[2]

In the 1970s, he joined Johnny Adams' band. He played with Adams for 20 years, both performing live and also appearing on his records.[1] During this time he continued to work as a solo artist, and in the late 1970s formed his own band, the Roadmasters, and toured Europe with them.[2]

Washington released his first solo album Rainin' In My Life in 1981 from a small local label Hep' Me.[3] He landed a contract with Rounder Records in 1985, and he released three albums with that label. After the Rounder days, he also released an album, Sada, on Point Blank Records.[3][4]

Washington started to play regularly with two New Orleans musicians, the organist Joe Krown and the drummer Russell Batiste, Jr., working as a trio at the Maple Leaf Bar.

Washington appears in performance footage in the 2005 documentary film Make It Funky!, which presents a history of New Orleans music and its influence on rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk and jazz.[5] In the film, he performs "Barefootin'" with the house band.[6]

In 2008, he released Doin' the Funky Thing, his first album in many years.[4] Live at the Maple Leaf, a live recording by Krown, Washington, Batiste was also released in the same year.

Washington died of cancer in New Orleans, on December 22, 2022, two days after his 79th birthday.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

OffBeat's Best of The Beat Awards[edit]

Year Category Work nominated Result Ref.
1995 Best Blues Band or Performer Won [8]
Best Urban Contemporary R&B Band or Performer Won [8]
1997 Best R&B/Soul Band or Performer Won [8]
1998 Best Funk Album Funk is in the House Won [8]
Best R&B/Soul Band or Performer Won [8]
2000 Best Blues Band or Performer (with The Roadmasters) Won [8]
Best Blues Album On the Prowl Won [8]
2003 Best Guitarist Won [8]
2006 Best Blues Band or Performer (with The Roadmasters) Won [8]
2009 Best R&B/Funk Album Live at the Maple Leaf (with Joe Krown and Russel Batiste, Jr.) Won [8]
2015 Best Blues Band or Performer Won [8]
Best Guitarist Won [8]
2016 Best Blues Band or Performer Won [8]
2018 Lifetime Achievement in Music Won [8]
Album of the Year My Future is My Past Won [8]
Best Blues Album My Future is My Past Won [8]


  • 1981 Leader Of The Pack (Hep' Me)
  • 1986 Wolf Tracks (Rounder)
  • 1987 Rainin' In My Life (Maison de Soul)
  • 1988 Out of the Dark (Rounder)
  • 1991 Wolf at the Door (Rounder)
  • 1991 Sada (Point Blank)
  • 1998 Funk Is in the House (Bullseye Blues)
  • 1999 Blue Moon Risin' (Artelier)
  • 2000 On the Prowl (Rounder)
  • 2008 Doin' the Funky Thing (Zoho Roots)
  • 2014 Howlin' LIVE at DBA New Orleans (Frenchmen Street Records)
  • 2018 My Future Is My Past (ANTI-Records)[4]


  1. ^ a b "Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters". Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Walter "Wolfman" Washington - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Blues (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 369. ISBN 0-85112-673-1.
  4. ^ a b c "Walter "Wolfman" Washington | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  5. ^ "IAJE What's Going On". Jazz Education Journal. 37 (5). Manhattan, Kansas: International Association of Jazz Educators: 87. April 2005. ISSN 1540-2886. ProQuest 1370090.
  6. ^ Make It Funky! (DVD). Culver City, California: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2005. ISBN 9781404991583. OCLC 61207781. 11952.
  7. ^ Spera, Keith. "Walter 'Wolfman' Washington, New Orleans guitarist and singer, has died at 79". Retrieved December 23, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Best of the Beat Award Winners: Complete List". OffBeat Magazine. September 8, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2024.

External links[edit]