Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

The Walkin' Cane Band 

Radio Café (Lazy Eye)

Austin "Walkin' Cane" Charanghat was born with a diseased left leg that was eventually amputated five years ago. He was also born with two strong hands and 10 nimble fingers that have enabled him to become one of the best guitar players in Cleveland history. The self-styled "world's finest one-legged East Indian blues guitarist" is probably the only axe slinger who can give Glen Schwartz a run for the rupees in Cleveland. And that's the one thing that makes Radio Café, the new album by the Walkin' Cane Band, a full-frontal assault of blues guitar virtuosity. Charanghat's brilliant guitar work drives all but a few of the tracks on this, his first CD since 1996's Help Yourself.

Charanghat's backing band, the Bad Boys of Blues -- guitarist Michael Bay, bassist Michael Barrick, and drummer Jim Wall -- helps make the album an eclectic affair. But somehow there's a feeling of denial when horns, saxophones, or a Hammond B3 organ shove Charanghat's guitar into some corner. Better the band should throw its Sunday punch every chance it gets. Fortunately, even the heavily arranged songs on Radio Café are damn good. Eleven of them are originals, with seven by Charanghat (including three he co-wrote with Rosavelt's Chris Allen) and two each by Barrick and Wall. The cover is a blues-rock version of Stevie Wonder's 35-year-old smash "Uptight." Standouts include the lugubrious Delta blues of "U.S. Crawl," the witty jump blues of "Hush Mouth Money," and the Robert Cray-influenced "Till I Fell." Okay, so it's not a blues guitar clinic from start to finish, but taken as a whole, this is one sizzling effort that can only enhance Charanghat's rep as a blues artist.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Steve Byrne

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation