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Bobby Charles (Bonus Track Version)

Bobby Charles

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Hooking up with the Band, specifically Rick Danko and their producer John Simon, was one of the smartest moves Bobby Charles ever made. His subsequent eponymous album on Bearsville not only gave him a bigger audience, but led to the perfect production for his sly, subtle blend of New Orleans R&B, rock & roll, and country. Partially, that's because the production is fuller, richer than his sides for Chess, Jewel, and Paula, boasting not just some grit, but a sweetness on ballads like "I Must Be in a Good Place Now," a tune every bit as good as those from the singer/songwriters who dominated the charts in 1972. This gives the album an earthier quality than anything else he recorded; it also makes the album feel like a perfect companion piece to other roots rock albums from the time like, of course, the Band. Still, there's a special charm to this record, largely because while it sounds contemporary, it retains Charles' mellow vibe and his sharp songwriting. The songs come on slow — "Street People," "He's Got All the Whiskey," and "Small Town Talk" all slowly unwind — but the slow build is friendly, welcoming you into the song. This isn't lazy music, but it takes its time and it's better for it; it's perfect music for a hot summer afternoon. It's a true hidden gem of blue-eyed soul, Southern R&B, and early-'70s roots rock (and early-'70s singer/songwriterism, for that matter).

[Rhino Handmade's deluxe reissue of Bobby Charles' wonderful 1972 album for Bearsville Records spills over two full discs, with a third bonus CD containing a half-hour interview with the singer/songwriter added for good measure. The first disc contains an excellent remaster of the album rounded out with eight bonus tracks, including alternate versions of "Small Town Talk," "Save Me Jesus," and "He's Got All the Whiskey," plus "New Mexico," "Homemade Songs," and "Rosie," excellent outtakes that first appeared on the 1996 Japanese set The Bearsville Box. Two previously unreleased songs, "Don't Be Surprised" and "You Were There," are also here, but that's just the tip of the iceberg of the unheard treasures that are heard on disc two. Following some Bobby Charles alternates and the outtake "Done a Lot of Wrong Things" is a full 13-track album from 1974. Produced by Paul Rothchild and featuring a lineup that was not preserved for history, these unreleased 1974 sessions are cut from the same cloth as the 1972 album but the slow songs, predominantly found in the first half of the outtakes, drift a little bit more than before and there's a more pronounced, albeit quite laid-back, New Orleans funk on "Nickles, Dimes and Dollars," "Please Please," and "Little Town Tramp." Perhaps this 1974 album isn't quite as focused as the 1972 masterpiece, but it's an excellent companion piece and to have it unearthed after all this time — and to have it be very, very good — qualifies as something of a minor miracle for Americana aficionados.]


Geboren: 21. Februar 1938 in Abbeville, LA

Genre: Blues

Jahre aktiv: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

More successful as a songwriter than a singer, Bobby Charles was nonetheless an important contributor to Louisiana music in both respects. He authored several hits for key artists in the early days of rock & roll (including Bill Haley and Fats Domino), and although...
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Bobby Charles (Bonus Track Version), Bobby Charles
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