Bay Area bluesman Joe Louis Walker wastes no time getting up to speed on the title track of this CD—his first for Alligator Records— which he calls the hardest-rocking and most deeply soulful album of his career. “Hellfire” is a rambunctious, psychedelically infused tale of good versus evil on which Walker blasts straight through the fabled crossroads of blues mythology and rampages down the “devil’s highway” looking for salvation with “flames nipping at my feet.” Walker, whose first band, The Dictionary of Soul, was named after an Otis Redding album, has long incorporated soul into his performances/recordings and here he adds gospel into the mix. With the assistance of The Jordanaires (Elvis’ backup group) he again faces off against the devil on “Soldier for Jesus” and also tosses in some terrific slide guitar. His slide-guitar work also peps up “Ride All Night,” a Rolling Stones-like rave-up as well as his own “Black Girls,” with the aptly descriptive line, “Well, the blues I’ve been hearing lately, it sounds like rock and roll.” No kiddin'. I’ve got the same complaint, even with this CD—as enjoyable as most of it is—and that includes a rousing version of Hank Snow’s C&W classic “Movin’ On.” Why he tries to play harmonica escapes me and it ruins the otherwise tasty “I’m on to You.”