charlie wood, tomorrow night

Tomorrow Night Review

Blues Matters

Charlie Wood, Memphis-born, but re-located to this country and married to Jacqui Dankworth is a fine singer/keyboardist/composer whose links to the blues are always apparent but who reaches out to many different styles. On this album, the stomping, hand-clapping title track, complete with background vocals from Jacqui Dankworth and biting horn figures from Mark Nightingale, Brandon Allen and Ryan Quigley, heads up a sequence of five originals, from the feel-good funkiness of The Good Stuff to the blues ballad, One by One, before the first two tracks by other writers appear. BB King’s Never Make Your Move too Soon matches Wood’s powerful vocal with edgy guitar from Chris Allard, but the real surprise is the inclusion of the Bee Gees’ How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? – effectively done with some tenderness. For my money the best of Wood’s own songs follow: You Can’t Have My Blues is a heartfelt manifesto and To Memphis, With Love is wonderfully oblique and beautifully arranged with a hint of country, building to a perfect conclusion. In this it is fairly unusual on the album. Arrangements are highly effective – integrating background vocals and horns into the sparser, effectively rootsy central quartet of Wood, Allard, Dudley Phillips and Nic France – but too many tracks end in fades. That apart, this is a thoroughly engaging album, with Wood’s wistful take on Bobby Bland’s Members Only another highlight – as so often, lovely interplay between organ and guitar – and Otis Redding’s These Arms of Mine providing a suitably soulful finale.

Norman Darwen