W.C. Clark is a true triple threat blues artist, as he proved once again in his most recent visit to Minnesota. He is a precise, talented guitarist, a powerful singer with incredible range, and a great songwriter. W. C. kicked things off with an instrumental number that gave him a chance to show just a bit of his guitar playing magic. With his current band, W.C. has a talented sax player who added a nice counterpoint to his guitar. After greeting the enthusiastic crowd, W.C. launched into slow, precise picking on "Down Home Blues." Here W.C. immediately showed the range of his beautifully expressive, tenor voice. He can hit unbelievable highs with power and feeling.
As his fans know, W.C. is a big Al Green fan. He did several of Green's song in addition to a few other covers. "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," allowed W.C. to play some full, rich, bell-like chords while showcasing his voice on some great, drawn-out vocals. The revved-up Saturday night crowd cheered their wild approval of W.C's efforts. Once again, Slick Skibbits on sax added a richer, fuller sound to round things out.
This show was billed as a CD release party by W.C. and Mugzee's. Unfortunately there were delays with the final production which pushed the release date back to after the first of the year. So the crowd was treated to more songs from W.C.'s last (and arguably best) CD, Lover's Plea. This CD is a great listen from beginning to end, featuring many great songs. W.C. performed a number of them this night, such as "Sunshine Lady" and "Lover's Plea." W.C. did give his fans a taste of the new with "Pitching In," a slightly funky, mid-tempo blues number which had the crowd up and dancing, clapping wildly at the end.
W.C. is an experienced, veteran performer who seems to make it all look easy. He can do a two-hour set changing tempos and direction smoothly, all the while demonstrating his expressive, precise guitar playing and smooth, passionate vocals. I have seen W.C. many times over the last 8-9 years and this was one of the most up-beat, happy, and passionate performances I have seen. While he always sounds great, this one was special. You could tell how great he felt by the number of "Do it, Do it's" he put in after each song as his own exclamation point.
W.C. kept things rolling along with two more upbeat tunes from Lover's Plea: "What You're Doing to Me" and "Because of You." Having experienced players like Pete on guitar and Dino on drums really added to W.C.'s band's sound, along with the great honking sax by Slick. W.C. is a true blues player, not one of the blues rockers that seem to dominate the scene these days. All young blues players could learn a great deal about playing, singing, songwriting, and stage presence by attending one of W.C's performances. And as one of my older friends and a huge W.C. fan put it, "You know he's the real deal since he picked cotton as a boy." Next time he's in town be sure to check out his performance and look for his new CD after the first of the year. You won't be disappointed.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Rich Benson, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, 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.