Music

'Deep in My Soul' Brings Big Daddy Wilson Home

Photo courtesy of the artist

Blues singer Big Daddy Wilson has lived in Germany for decades but returned to the American South of his childhood to record Deep in My Soul.

Deep in My Soul
Big Daddy Wilson

Ruf

19 April 2019

Big Daddy Wilson is not changing any games with his new album Deep in My Soul. He's not thinking outside of the box, challenging listener expectations, or pushing the envelope. What Big Daddy Wilson is doing with Deep in My Soul is expressively singing his way through a collection of solidly written tunes that are rooted in the blues but branch out a little bit to encompass soul and gospel. And that's more than enough.

Deep in My Soul is a homecoming of sorts for Big Daddy Wilson. Born and raised in North Carolina, Wilson discovered the blues in Germany, while stationed there in the U.S. Army. He subsequently married and stayed in Germany, gradually building a career as a blues singer and performing mostly in Europe. Deep in My Soul brings Big Daddy Wilson back to the American South, specifically to the home studio of Jim Gaines, whose extensive producer/engineer credits include Santana and Huey Lewis and the News. Wilson completed the album at legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

The musicians on Deep in My Soul create a foundation that seems just right for Wilson's vocals. Adding fire to the songs is lead guitarist Laura Chavez, whose work lit up albums by the outrageous late singer-songwriter Candye Kane. Chavez, who co-wrote two of the album's songs with Wilson, shines throughout Deep in My Soul.

The album opens with two light R&B songs, the laidback "I Know (She Said)" and the jumpier "Ain't Got No Money". Both are fine, but the third track, "Mississippi Me", is the album's first highlight. Written by Sandy Carroll and keyboard player Mark Narmore, "Mississippi Me" is a soulful ballad that features an evocative invitation: "Let's unwrap our minds / And get tangled up like two honeysuckle vines."

Each of the old school R&B songs on Deep in My Soul fall somewhere on the good-to-nearly-great continuum and bring a nice stylistic diversity, but it is the lineup of blues tunes dominating the second half of the album that leaves the strongest impression. Again, Wilson is coloring inside the lines here. There is nothing too crazy going on, but Big Daddy Wilson brings just the right amount of passion, soul, grit, and heart to these mostly self-written songs. "I'm Walking", "Crazy World", "Redhead Stepchild", and "Voodoo" all give Wilson and guitarist Chavez a chance to dig deep and the results ought to be satisfying to modern blues fans and anyone else with a taste for a little blues now and again.

The album's autobiographical title track, in which "my heart started singing / All the things I was feeling", is Wilson's statement of purpose ("Behind these songs / That I sing every night / Behind these songs / Is the story of my life"). "Deep in My Soul" is in the same lofty class as similar declarations from B.B. King ("That's Why I Sing the Blues") and Buddy Guy ("Damn Right, I Got the Blues"). "The blues will heal you," Wilson notes. "If you let it, let it touch you / Way down, way down in your soul."

Give Deep in My Soul a spin and be healed.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.