Charlie Wood Band
Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
Reviewer: Reg Webb

For anyone reading this who wasn't at the gig, it's hard to describe the unique atmosphere which his songs, their musical presentation, and Charlie Wood's conversational style bring to the performance.

Of course, that might be said of any performer - all being unique - but this reviewer happens to find his unself-conscious expression of the musical roots he grew up with, coupled with an obvious knowledge and respect for the wider world of music, and the expressive power of language, beyond "I woke up this mornin'".

 

While waking up this mornin' is important, you have to work with the tools you were educated to, and Charlie manages to integrate his roots and education better than most.

Most of the material was taken from three albums:
SouthBound, New Souvenirs and the yet-to-be-released To Memphis With Love.

Songs like Lucky Charm, New Souvenirs and Promised Land, have a real emotional force and personal honesty which I find moving. And then there are the incisive, witty critique songs such as A Song (from Flutter And Wow), or Tube (from New Souvenirs), which deal with our current obsessions, and our capacity for replacing good things with worse things.

As a self-confessed fan, I could go on, but the live performance was tight, musical, and enthusiastic, in spite of the late replacement of two of the brass players - Freddie Gavita (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Julian Siegel (tenor sax) - playing arrangements which need understanding of soul music conventions, plus the kind of rhythmic command of 'clever stuff' which we're very lucky to find in our current crop of gifted musicians.

If I have a criticism, it's that the voice could have been clearer. Possibly due to a mixture of the sound and Charlie's enunciation. These are lyrics which are integral to the songs they're in, and definitely need to be heard by deaf old gits like me!

I'm sure Charlie will return. Go next time if you can.