FAME Review: Billy Walton Band - Wish for What You Want
Billy Walton Band - Wish for What You Want

Wish for What You Want

Billy Walton Band

Vizztone - VZNF005

Available from Billy Walton Band's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Wish for What You Want is the Billy Walton Band's 5th disc and, though the lads are Americanos, Jersey boyz, they're very popular in northern Europe and have been touring there regularly since 2007. More, this CD's produced and heavily co-written by Tony Braunagel, who earned a special place in rock & rollers' hearts for his incumbency in Paul Kossoff's Back Street Crawler band (later Crawler, after Kossoff's heartbreaking death), but I think several cuts in Wish reveal why Eurorockerz 'n bloozerz dig this ensemble so much. Latch onto Mountain and then Blues Comes a'Knockin' and what do you hear? An unlikely instance of Blodwyn Pig (w/Mick Abrahams) meeting Aviator (w/Mick Rogers) halfway! Never saw that comin' but, man, did it ever tickle my 70s-centered heart.

Walton—composer, singer, and guitarist—possesses one of those slightly off-kilter voices that makes you arch an eyebrow and then sit down to hear more. He's definitely caged the blues deep in his viscera yet stands foursquare in boogie rockin', what might be cited as the modernization of the old Chicago sound, God bless it, meeting the UK mid-Atlantic. The opening lead line and solos in Forgive and Forget mix it up further, sounding like prime bits from Frank Marino in one of his searing later live CDs. Then the horns of Ian Gray and Sean Marks come ringing in, trundling NYC down the Atlantic coastline to the sassy SouthEast. Toss in some Les Dudek, and you're getting the vibe, bro.

The lament-spooky Change is particularly choice, a Turn the Page-esque number that leaves you thinking about it long after the track winds down. Everywhere you go, though, you hit paydirt, as this Walton cat really knows his way around melodies, beats, and infectious rhythms. Till Tomorrow takes the opportunity to blend Elvis Costello with Graham Parker with J. Geils, so I've no doubt Billy's had his head well immersed in a wide variety of styles, and it shows. Braunagel's production, needless to say, is bright, clear, and top-notch, and we even have guest appearances from Mike Finnigan and Southside Johnny. Hoo-ee, all that and more besides! This is a disc that's going to return to your player time and again 'cause I guarantee there's a whole lot more going on than any first listen can hope to reveal.

Track List:

  • Wish for What You Want (Walton / Friel / Braunagle)
  • True Lovin Man (Walton / Friel / Braunagle / Paris)
  • Mountain (Walton / Friel / Braunagle)
  • Come On Up (Felix Cavaliere)
  • Blues Comes a Knockin (Walton / Friel)
  • Forgive and Forget (Paris /Walton)
  • Change (Walton / Friel / Braunagle)
  • Worried Blues (Walton / Friel / Braunagle)
  • Till Tomorrow (Walton / Friel)
  • Just to Walk That Little Girl Home (DeVille / Pomus)
  • It Don't Matter (Walton / Friel)
  • Hudson County Star (Paris / Faye)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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