The Severn label is a blues dominated organization also recognizing the turn the form took into R&B (rhythm and blues), and thus it casts about for the best examples of the substratum. Charles Wilson is the late Little Milton's nephew and has inherited more than chip off the family block. His sound derives from an era which saw the greats (Temptations, Chambers Bros., Four Tops, etc.), and those times were not lost on him. Mike Welch, his guitarist, injects a good deal of the Steve Cropper vibe, and Willie Henderson Jr.'s orchestral arrangements are reminiscent of the bygone days of Quincy Jones, Billy Paul, and other estimables.
Charles is a big guy, but his voice is far from ponderous, instead agile and light, further airborn by a trio of backing vocalists. Benjie Porecki's Hammond dances all around him on I Want to Shout About It and elsewhere, keeping things spirited as Wilson belts out an ode to his love. Somebody's Tears, a Denise Lasalle song here dedicated to Little Milton, digs much more deeply into the blues and is one of my favorites, but Wilson's version of Bob Marley's Is This Love is likewise dipped in the tradition, this time by way of the folk infusions Taj Mahal undertook. The longest cut of the disc, it does a bit of exploring, allowing the composition to breathe in the way Marley intended. Put Something into It closes the CD and carries a funky kick, a Harlem swing getting closer to the bone than the Texas refrains, Welch punching in some Memphis to flank Porecki's airy jitterbugging keys. By the time the last notes fade out, you know you've just taken a strong side trip down Memory Lane with a driver who knows the savvy side streets.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles