Big Daddy Wilson: Love is the Key (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

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Big Daddy Wilson: Ain't No Slave
Big Daddy Wilson: Love is the Key (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Singer Wilson from North Carolina is yet another of those US blues (and jazz) artists who found a more sympathetic and profitable environment in Europe and these days operates out of Germany playing festivals and clubs across the Continent.

Ironically -- because he grew up in the church, listened to country music at home and joined the army at 16 when he was shipped off to European military bases -- it was while in Germany that he first encountered the blues.

His take on the music mixes in a large measure of country-blues, a touch of reggae (Keep Your Faith in Jah is here, and there's a reggae lilt to Dreaming) and although he can clearly rock it up this one errs towards to more subtle and quietly persuasive moods. More Otis Redding in places too, especially on the aching Waiting on You right at the end, the real pay-off here.

Guest here is Eric Bibb (another who came late to the blues and has a strong country-blues influence), and the backing band are mostly young German musicians.

But Wilson writes strong, memorable and emotional songs which he delivers with conviction, and that keeps him firmly -- and correctly - in the centre of the frame.

A good one. 

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