Wily Bo Walker and Danny Flam
AIN’T NO MAN A GOOD MAN (Deluxe Edition)
Taking British R&B to a Whole New Swampy and Rapscallion Level.
I can’t keep up date with Wily Bo Walker’s musical releases. Sometimes they are brand new songs and others remixes and AIN’T NO MAN A GOOD MAN (Deluxe Edition) is a wonderful hybrid of the two; with album #1 being all new songs featuring Wily Bo and the Danny Flam Big Band while album #2 is full of yet more re-mixes of Mr Walkers recent songs put through the veritable musical mixer.
So, let’s start with the new stuff; which is why you will be parting with your hard earned pocket money.
The title track Ain’t No Man a Good Man storms out of the speakers and not just grabs you by the throat; but shakes you to the core and hardly leaving you able to breathe.
Walker’s expressive and rasping vocals are marched perfectly by Danny Flam’s Big Band and perhaps it takes such a big sound to bring out the best in not just his words, but Walker’s vocal enthusings too ……. as he ain’t sounded much better than this!
The themes here are not just very cinematic but timeless and full of raw energy, none more so than the swinging R&B of Velvet Windows (Treme Trippin’) which fair rattled the office window when turned up to 9.
When you hear songs like Fool For You (2020 Hindsight) and Ain’t Hungry No More you will wonder why the grave voiced Wily Bo and the majestic Danny Flam Big Band don’t have their own Saturday night TV Show; but sometimes we like to keep some things a secret, don’t we?
It’s far too obvious to compare this album to Dr. John’s output; but there certainly is plenty of Gris Gris in Did I Forget (to tell you I love you?) and Time to Forget You; but to these ears, there’s more than a smidgen of Georgie Fame and Zoot Money in their too; making this British R&B on steroids!
If you even vaguely like Van Morrison’s Big Band excursions, you will simply love Wily Bo’s sultry and storming version of St. James’ Infirmary Blues to death!
Album #1 closes with an amazing reinvention of Build My Gallows (Ain’t No Return) and on any other album this dark and brooding five minutes would easily be my Favourite Track, but …….. there’s the enigmatic Night of The Hunter which is most obviously thematically linked to the film of the same name; and certainly lives up to its Film Noir credentials too.
Historically I’m not re-disposed to re-mixes of songs; but here I can’t urge you strongly enough to buy the Deluxe Version or else you will miss out on hearing I Want To Know (NY Funk Mix) and When the Angels Call Your Name (Bourbon Street Mix) as both sizzle like a bloody steak on a red hot BBQ.
Drive (Two Lane Blacktop Mix) and Walk In Chinese Footsteps both deserve a courteous mention too; with the latter making me hunt out my old Was Not Was 12″ singles for the first time in years.
I’ve always loved Bo Diddley; but never imagined someone could re-imagine Who Do You Love? in the way Wily Bo does with his NYC Chiller Mix; but it’s truly amazing ……… think of it as a Michael Jackson/Tom Waits mash-up featuring Miles Davis and the Meters then mixed by Aaron Neville!
Then; last but not least there is the majestic For The Children which I don’t believe I’ve heard before in any guise; but have fallen head over heals in love with.
There you have it, Wily Bo Walker (and friends) have come right out of left field to deliver not just one; but two stunning new albums that I can’t recommend highly enough.
Released 31st July 2020