Blues Bytes

Surprise

April 2008

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Bobby Wayne
Soul Station
Bonedog Records

Bobby WayneIt's been a full three years since I reviewed Bobby Wayne's last CD in these pages (March 2005), and that release, Hit That Thing, was one of those sleepers that was at the top of my best of list that year and has been a frequent go to CD since then. I anxiously awaited the release of this new one, Soul Station, and it was well worth the wait. Once again Wayne is blessed with real musicians, great songwriting and production second to none.

It opens with the title track, "Soul Station," a song about WLAC in Nashville and the great music DJ John R. played. WLAC, as I have mentioned in the past, was one of those 50,000 watt stations that you could pick up at night on the east coast when the weather was clear. That's when we all heard James Carr, Spencer Wiggins and Oscar Toney Jr. for the first time, especially those of us in the New York / New Jersey area. We heard a lot of Atlantic Records, but those great southern releases on Jewel, Ronn and Goldwax didn't get the plays in the north they should have. And let's not forget those great commercials for mail order live chicks and gold leaf bibles that always ran on WLAC. Wayne reminisces about listening on his little transistor radio. Ah yes, those were the days of innocence.

This release has a more Northern Soul feel than it's predecessor, but there are a few southern tunes thrown in, like the excellent Dan Penn - Donnie Fritts tune "Rainbow Road." This is given a great reading by Wayne even though it falls short of the late great Arthur Alexander version. Of the more upbeat tracks, Willie Kendricks' RCA release, "Change Your Ways," is right on, as is Major Harris' "Call Me Tomorrow." Horns abound and everyone sounds like they are having a great time.

Another excellent cover is the mid-paced "I'm Taking On Pain," a 1966 release by the underrated Tommy Tate. Many of the remaining songs were penned by Boneyard's bassist / producer Mike Sweeney and various band members. Of the new originals, "East End Avenue" is another "those were the good old days" song. "Right As The Rain" is a deep soul blast, and another classy ballad, "Over And Over,"
closes the CD like sweet icing on the cake. I only wish there were more releases of this caliber.

This important release can be ordered at www.bonedogrecords.com. Supporting independent releases like this will enable these small companies to thrive and continue to make new music that is not controlled by the majors. How refreshing is that.

--- Alan Shutro

 

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