Canadian guitarist/singer/songwriter Walter Rossi passed away on April 29. Rossi was born in Italy and raised and lived in Montreal, Quebec. In his early days Rossi played with Wilson Pickett, Buddy Miles, met & jammed with Jim Hendrix, and passed up a few opportunities, such as joining Three Dog Night and David Bowie in order to stay close to home and take care of his father. In the ’70s Rossi made a name for himself as a solo artist, session guitarist, and producer who played on numerous albums in Montreal – of many genres, including playing on albums by Billy Workman, Nanette Workman, Michel Pagliaro and Bombers, among them. His first album was with Canadian psych band Influence in 1968. Rossi then formed Charlee, a hard rock band that released one LP in 1972. This album is considered one of Rossi’s best recordings, and is most sought after. (Charlee got a US release, as well as a release in Sweden as a Walter Rossi solo LP titled Wizzard).
Rossi signed to Canadian label Aquarius Records, and released 3 albums Walter Rossi (76), Six Strings Nine Lives (78 – considered his best album and a Canadian classic), and Diamonds For The Kid (80). Aquarius would release a compilation album of Rossi’s solo stuff titled Picks in 1980, and a CD compilation titled All The Best in the ’90s.
One Foot In Heaven, One Foot In Hell would be last solo album of new material, released in 1980 on Canadian label Image Records. This, and the previous album would see Canadian-only releases, while his first 2 albums would be issued in various countries like Sweden, Germany, Spain and Japan. In 2004 a compilation of previously unreleased tracks was released titled Secret Sins – The Intimate Session Series Volume 1
If you haven’t heard of Walter Rossi, his solo career (and Charlee) are highly recommended Canadian rock n roll albums. There are plenty of interview links, images, and press clippings at his website to check out his life and career. RIP.