Big Daddy Wilson ‘Time’ (DixieFrog) 4/5

big-daddy-wilsonOn the day that the world of blues music and way beyond rightly pays tribute to the greatest populiser of the blues in B.B. King, a gentle take on the folk-blues tradition with the major input in both co-production and guitar playing comes from vocalist Big Daddy Wilson and this album was actually recorded in Germany, yet has an authentic southern blues feel to it throughout. That is thanks in large part to the co-production and guitar talent of Eric Bibb who has carved out a separate, though nonetheless complimentary side to his leader career. Fellow musician Steffan Astner is the commended equally for consistently strong slide guitar playing and this is no better illustrated than on the title track that coasts along on a distinctive bass line after an a cappella vocal intro from Big Daddy and the use of a Diddley bow from Astner. Even more inventive instrumentation is utilised on ‘She loves me’, the tale of a north German lady, with the xylophone in evidence and Paris Renita Gilbert offering up fine backing vocals on this essentially acoustic soul-blues number. Thanks to the wonders of twenty-first century technology the lead vocals by Big Daddy were actually recorded in a hotel room in Bordeaux, but you would never be able to tell.

Mainly pared instrumentation greets the listener on the relaxed mid-tempo opener, Time to move’, and the collaboration between Bibb and Wilson is one that generates a good deal of respective empathy and the listener is most certainly the winner. A fine tribute to the late great folk-blues singer Mississippi John Hurt comes in the shape of ‘Mississippi John’ with a spoken intro and some fine acoustic guitar licks from Bibb with whistles thrown in for good measure. Softly delivered vocals from Big Daddy makes this an outstanding song in homage to Mississippi John. The album was recorded in German with a film crew in attendance so possibly at some point a DVD may become available of proceedings and that would be a real treat. Folk-blues of the highest calibre from a French label that is now firmly established as a purveyor of quality blues, and ideal radio friendly listening.

Tim Stenhouse