Kim Wilson's latest, "Lookin' for Trouble" on MC Records, was a total surprise to me. Here I expected some in your face, screamin' harp and hard-edged vocals and instead I was pleasantly shocked to hear a very subtle, easy, wonderfully-paced record. Even though Wilson denies it in his liner notes, he captures a truly vintage sound here that reminisces Louie Prima at his peak, with the sound of his Capital collection of hits.
Instead of worrying about respecting Wilson's efforts, I get to just enjoy them. Songs like "[You Put the] Hurt on Me" and "Hook, Line and Sinker" just bounce along.
The album kicks off with a Jerry Lee Lewis like rock 'n roll title track "Lookin' for Trouble" - however this is volume II and volume I has more of a stripped down approach. He seems to get the whaling out of his system with this first track and settles down with the vampy "Tortured". The rest of the CD just moves along rather easily, moving into "Hurt on Me" and songs of various tempos, with tributes to Willie Dixon on "Love My Baby", Sonny Lane on "Hook, Line & Sinker" and Howlin' Wolf on "Hand to Mouth". In fact, ghosts run rampant over this CD which makes one wonder if Kim's been bottling them up all these years.
The mix of this album might be one of the most important aspects of its success. The drums are there (credited to either Steve Ramsey or Richard Innes), but they're not overpowering and they're not mixed to the rock proportions that most modern Blues albums mistakenly offer today. A nice blend of horns and Wilson's vintage amp sound from his harp bring you back to the day of Las Vegas lounge Blues - the place that made BB King and Louie Prima famous. The piano keys (Mark Stevens) are whimsical like the old Louie Armstrong stuff from the twenties and the guitar work is also rather
jazzy and extremely tasty from Troy Gonyea.
Like most CD's I review, I listened to this record numerous times - I haven't gotten sick of it yet, in fact I'm damn well enjoying it and will play it at my next party. I've never been a huge Fabulous Thunderbirds fan (although I've got "Tuff 'n Nuff" in my collection) due to their brutal approach to the Blues. Kim Wilson shows a whole different side on this CD and it beats the pants off his last one. He mentions in the liner notes that he thinks he's got it, and he can run with it, well Kim, start running baby. Y'all better start running to your record store to get this or check it out at www.mc-records.com http://www.mc-records.com.
- Dave Glynn, lead singer of the Empty Can Band - www.emptycanband.com
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