When I first saw 73 year old Weepin' Willie's debut CD, "At Last, On Time," about a year ago at the Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival, my first question was "Who is Weepin' Willie and why is this his debut CD?" It didn't take long to find out who Weepin' Willie was, but it took a bit longer to answer why the 73 year old singer was just now recording his debut CD.
Weepin' Willie, a.k.a. Willie Robinson, has been a part of the entertainment business in the Boston area for over 40 years. Starting as an emcee for be-bop shows in Boston after getting out of the Army, Willie finally took up singing with encouragement from none other than B.B. King. Along the way to recording "At Last, On Time," Willie made a lot of friends, including singer/songwriter Mighty Sam McClain and guitar maven, Susan Tedeschi, who was acquainted with Willie while she was learning her chops playing at jam sessions in the Boston area. Thanks to McClain's desire to see Willie get his big break and Tedeschi's willingness to help out as a charter member of the unofficial Weepin' Willie fan club; Weepin' Willie's debut CD finally became a reality.
"At Last, On Time" has everything you could ask for in a blues CD and then some. Willie is backed by Mighty Sam McClain's extremely tight band; Susan Tedeschi appears as the special guest guitarist; and every song is a gem. After opening with a Mighty Sam McClain composition, "Love Call," Willie and Susan Tedeschi get way down with a burning version of the classic, "Fever." The combination of Willie's smooth voice and Tedeschi's gut-ripping vocals and burning guitar translates into one fantastic song! Later in the recording, Sam McClain takes his turn with Willie as they team up for "They Call Me Weepin' Willie/Mighty Mighty," a variation on another McClain original.
Only two songs on the eleven song CD are Weepin' Willie originals; "Can't Go
Wrong Woman" and "Weepin' Willie Boogie." "Can't Go Wrong Woman" is a slow blues that opens with Tedeschi's blazing guitar, followed by Willie's crooning. The song is guaranteed to remind listeners of another guitarist/vocalist combination, Bnois King and Smokin' Joe Kubek. "Weepin' Willie Boogie" is an up tempo, jazzier tune the includes some nice piano by George Papa George and sax by Chuck Langford.
The CD concludes with McClain, Tedeschi and Willie sharing the vocals on another classic, "Let The Good Times Roll." On a CD that has everything, everything is brought to the forefront on this song. Willie, Susan and Sam trade off on vocals and Susan throws in a nice guitar solo for good measure.
All in all, "At Last, On Time" is an excellent CD that deserves to be at the top of
everyone's blues recording want list. With great songs, some of Susan Tedeschi's best recorded material since "Just Won't Burn" and enthusiastic participation by Mighty Sam McClain and his band, Acoustic Sounds/APO definitely has a winner in their record catalogue. Once you have heard "At Last, On Time," you will surely wonder how Weepin' Willie has been kept a secret for such a long time. Visit Acoustic Sounds/APO's website at www.acousticsounds.com to get your copy of "At Last, On Time."
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc Piltz, 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.