Soul and blues fans will be thrilled with this release by Nashville-based Charles Walker. He is living proof there is more than country honky tonk available in the Music City. Back in the 60s, Charles and the Sidewinders were one of the most in demand soul bands on the NYC nightclub scene. In the 80s, Walker relocated to Europe and started his own soul label. In the early 90s, he returned to Nashville to seriously get back into recording. He reunited with many of the city's legendary recording artists and appeared on "Blues Across America - The Nashville Scene."
Walker's debut Cannonball release features 56 minutes of his soulful, smooth, strong and sensual vocals in the Memphis soul tradition on its 13 tracks. His guest musicians lay down brilliant R&B based blues. Fred James is the most active of the musicians. He produced the CD, published many of the songs, played lead and rhythm guitars and the electric piano. He even found time to sing background vocals.
"Homewrecker Legs" features Texas guitar while the lyrics force your imagination to run wild. The foot stompin' 12 bar boogie title track has gospel-like backing vocals. The band shows off their excellent sax, guitar and organ musicianship on the funky "Fleetwood Cadillac". Walker pours it all out on the slow blues of "Make It Rain" with his dynamic vocal range. He then shares the vocals with Johnny Jones as they sing about the pleasures of an older woman on "Nothing A Young Girl Can Do." Without a doubt the catchiest soul track is "Need Somebody" while "When I'm Gone" features the purest R&B. It has the added bonus of the sweet backing vocals of Mary-Ann Brandon and Margaret Walker. Ironically, the only Charles Walker original, "I'm Available" has the most country sounding guitar twang.
The liner notes provide an excellent history of Walker and claim that he has cut the best record of his career. One listen to the sweet sounding soul of this CD and you will agree. Welcome back to the recording industry Charles!
For CDs, and information, write to: Cannonball Records, 1660 Lake Drive West, Chanhassen, MN 55317 Website: www.canball.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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