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Blues In the Key of C

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Album Review

Not to be confused with Charles Wilson of the Gap Band, this Charles Wilson is an obscure but talented blues/soul man who doesn't always sound like a man. In fact, he often sounds like a woman, albeit a woman with a fairly deep voice. Blues in the Key of C, which employs Little Milton on guitar, gives the impression that Wilson has spent a lot of time listening to great female singers like Esther Phillips. Although this CD ended up in the blues bins, most of the material is R&B rather than actual 12-bar blues. Wilson is at his best on "Selfish Lover," "Is It Over," and "Who's It Going to Be," all of which recall the soul music of the '70s and show how convincing a singer he can be. Less memorable is the urban contemporary-ish "Love Supply." Unfortunately, much of the album suffers from weak production. Underproduced can be a healthy thing when you're going for earthy, down-home blues, but the low-budget approach becomes a liability when you're using synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines as much as Wilson does on Blues. In that case, it doesn't sound underproduced — it sounds poorly produced. "Love Supply," in fact, sounds like an urban contemporary demo. But for all its flaws, Blues generally isn't a bad album. Most of the songs are decent, and the disc's shortcomings don't erase the fact that Wilson is capable of greatness.


Born: 27 January 1957 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Charles Wilson was raised in Chicago, and started singing early; as a teenager he sang in Chicago area nightclubs but was too young to have a beer. Despite having R&B/blues singer Little Milton ("We're Gonna Make It") for an uncle, his "big break" didn't come until he got the opportunity to go on the road with Bobby Rush. He later opened for Z.Z. Hill, Otis Clay, Tyrone Davis, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Wilson waxed his first single in 1964, but "Trying to Make a Wrong Thing Right," didn't do much;...
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Blues In the Key of C, Charles Wilson
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