The nicely expressive singer, pianist and songwriter Charlie was born in Memphis in 1967, and spent a few years in New Orleans honing his chops before heading back to his home town and playing in Albert King’s band for around a year. Having gained a strong reputation, he then had a residency as leader of an organ trio at King’s Palace on Beale Street – with the likes of BB King, Rufus Thomas, and Georgie Fame sitting in – before relocating across the Atlantic to London almost ten years ago.
This album shows what he has learned over the years and just what he is capable of. Some of the songs are originals, others are from the repertoires of BB King, Howling Wolf, Otis Redding, Al Green (the Bee Gees composition, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, recorded by Al in 1972) and Bobby Bland – yes, you might have guessed that Charlie has something of a talent for classic Memphis blues and soul. The opening track, which is also the title track, recalls the great Mose Allison, not just in its cool approach but also in its perfect blending of blues and soul, whilst the following number, Stay With Me, has a tinge of 70s Stevie Wonder (the ballad side) to it, though it also contains some very bluesy guitar work; the mellow One By One also has tinges of Stevie. Funky track The Good Stuff bears witness to Charlie’s time in New Orleans, and BB’s Never Make Your Move Too Soon is a fine percolating blues, whilst others lean towards a smoother jazz sound. The album closes out with a killer selection of the soulful Members Only, a refreshingly different than usual cover of Killing Floor and Otis’s intensely soulful These Arms of Mine. Great stuff!