Take Me Back (The Bigtone Sessions)
The Blues; Precisely Like They Outta Be Played.
For someone who will reach their 70th. birthday next January Kim Wilson shows no signs of slowing down.
He has re-joined MC Records, following a hiatus of 17 years and they will release what will be his first solo album in 3 long years, which according to my calculations will be number his #7 under his own moniker.
You also have to add the 14 or so studio albums (plus the Live ones and Compilations etc.) he has recorded with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, the legendary Austin band he formed with Jimmie Vaughan in 1974 and still continues to lead to this day.
Just like in the old days, all 16 tracks on Take Me Back were recorded in Glorious Mono and “live in the studio;” at Big John Atkinson’s Big Tone Records in Bristol, Virginia.
Being in the Blues business for something like 50 years means Kim can call on some notable musicians and genuine friends to play on the album, not just the studio owner but also the likes of Billy Flynn, Rusty Zinn, Barrelhouse Chuck and Kid Andersen.
The respect and affection Wilson has for Jimmy Rogers means that 4 of the cover versions here are lesser known gems from his honorary uncle’s Chess period.
There are then renditions from the catalogues of Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Percy Mayfield, Larry Williams and Jimmy Nolen too; plus seven self-penned numbers, four being instrumentals and they all point directly to the ultimate pantheon of the blues that is the Windy City.
“Take Me Back” is the title track and a fine cover of a Little Walter beauty that was a B-Side to “It’s Too Late Brother”, first released in 1956.
The opening track is also one of the covers; Jimmy Nolen’s “You’ve been Goofin’” featuring some very distinctive guitar punctuated with baritone saxophone.
We then have the first of Kim’s instrumentals, “Wingin’ It” followed by a terrific Blues shuffle where we hear all about his “Fine Little Woman”, learning that
“you don’t wanna mess with that woman,
she got the devil in her eye”.
Larry Willliam’s Rock’n Roll classic “Slow Down” then gets the party truly swinging without deviating too much from the original.
Howlin’ Wolf’s “No Place to Go” is genuinely respectful of the mega Blues icon and then Percy Mayfield’s “Strange Things Happening” slows things down again, with Kim’s familiar harmonica well to the foreground of the mix.
The mood picks back up again with “Play Me” bouncing along, guaranteeing sub-conscious foot tapping for any listener.
My Favourite Track is the penultimate “Goin’ Away Baby” which is one of the four Jimmy Rogers covers with its long 32 second harmonica intro followed by Kim’s vocals being interspersed or answered with his trademark, stinging harmonica.
In summary, 16 solid killer tracks, providing value for money, all concise and only lasting between 2:25 and 3:57 minutes each; that make the 50 minutes absolutely fly by; just like they used to back in the golden era of juke-box (nay juke-joint) singles.
In many ways Kim Wilson can be like that ‘marketing strap line’ used by Ronseal, he is ‘what it says on the tin’ …… quite simply the consummate musician who knows no other way to sing and play the Blues; precisely like they should be played.
So, no worries for Kim, Blues lovers everywhere will undoubtedly Take Him Back.
Released on 9th. October 2020
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Review by Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com