This West Coast-based guitarist shines brilliantly on his third album for Bullseye Blues. While some of his earlier locally produced efforts have been uneven affairs, here kudos must go forth to producer and keyboard sideman Ron Levy. Levy keeps Wilson's guitar tone at sting and bite level 10 and his vocals right up front and toasty, surrounding him with a solid rhythm section and spare horn stabs. Eight of the 12 songs here are from Smokey's prolific pen, including "You Don't Drink What I Drink," and the title track, "Too Drunk To Drive," "Don't Tangle With Me," and "Black Widow," winners all. A quartet of covers (Magic Sam's "Easy Baby," Elmore James' "Something Inside Of Me" and a pair of Howlin' Wolf tunes, "Louise" and "44 Blues," with the latter featuring a guest turn from James Harman) rounds out this excellent session. Those who can't get enough of nasty, stinging lead guitar lines would do well to investigate this album.
Transplanted Mississippian Smokey Wilson has made plenty of records, but usually for poorly distributed regional labels. So although he is far from a newcomer, he might as well be a fledgling rookie to the average listener. The songs, aside from the lyrically commendable but awkward "Don't Burn Down L.A.," are primarily his own urgent expositions on love, life's unfairness, and pain. His playing blends slamming fills, chunky riffs, and sonic barrages mixed with expert uses of distortion, bent notes, and flashy chords. This is the kind of no-nonsense set that has earned Rounder/Bullseye its exemplary reputation.
The blues didn’t stop with the end of the 50s – as soul ruled the charts, the grittier end of black music was well represented by the artists on this compilation. Great guitar playing to the fore.
Though its title track ignited a nationwide fad for go-go music, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' Going to a Go-Go LP certainly wasn't just a cash-in effort. It's one of the best records the group put out, and the first six songs make for the best side of any original Motown LP of the '60s (granted, all but one are also available on dozens of Miracles compilations). The four biggest hits were among the best in a set of Miracles archetypes: the throwback to the aching '50s doo wop ballad ("Ooo Baby, Baby"), the flashy up-tempo dance song ("Going to a Go-Go"), the dancing-with-tears-in-my-eyes jerker ("The Tracks of My Tears"), and the mid-tempo orchestral epic ("My Girl Has Gone"). "Choosey Beggar" is one of the sweetest of all Robinson's lead vocals, with stunning background work by the rest of the Miracles.