“I’m Charles’ Big Daddy’ Stallings and I approve these blues,” the gentleman from Baltimore proclaims on the introductory track of his third CD, Blues Party (Tai Jeria Record Company). Stallings, who became prominent in the Baltimore-Washington scene about five years ago, brings a down home blues style with a band that mixes traditionally oriented Chicago blues with classic sixties and seventies rhythm and blues. There is a variety of folk handling the backing here including Gail Parrish or Ronald Bland on bass; Russell Hayward II or Bill Pratt on drums; Joe “E Flat” Thomas on saxophone, and Clarence Ward III on trumpet, and Steve Levine on harmonica. Mark Wenner of the Nighthawks adds the down home harp for the Intro, and Down on the Farm. There is plenty of music here, with 16 original songs bookended by his intro and thank you tracks
The title track is a nice good times track, followed by the somewhat salacious “Horny Bee, with a Jimmy Reed groove and some biting lead guitar from Leroy Flowers, Jr, has Stallings grittily delivery the vocal. Riffing horns embellish the simple groove of Fine Lady, that displays Stallings’ simple lyrics and rustic vocal with him taking a stinging solo. Down on the Farm, a lazy, rustic piece of blues story-telling is perhaps the most memorable track here, as he recalls growing up on the farm and the hard life down there with Mark Wenner contributing the harmonica here. Swing 2010, is an instrumental (perfect for dancing) with Washington keyboard legend Jackie Hairston on organ, a hot trumpet solo from Ward and sax solo by Carlos Johnson.
She’s Gone is a lament about Big Daddy’s baby having gone and left him all alone because he did her wrong, while Knocked Up, has his wondering about why so much teenage pregnancy. In Love With Yourself, is a nice soul ballad about one’s marriage ending and no fun to be in love by yourself. After a brief spoken introduction, organist Hairston and saxophonist Johnson are featured on the jazzy The Lucy Number, while Clarence Ward’s trumpet blasts off James, a funk tribute to the Godfather of Soul,” with tough horns and a strong groove, followed by a couple nods to disco-life, I Wanna Dance, followed by his salute to Latin Girls, another number with a dance groove and a percussion break down. Big Daddy closes asking us to put some Blues in Your Funk, with nice harmonica (I presume Steve Levine since it is not credited in the booklet) and brassy horns.
On Old Folks, a slow blues with nice guitar, Stallings sings,”Keep those bloomers on Granny, Grandpa ain’t giving up no love tonight.” While it has some catching lines like most of the record, the lyrics sometimes come off as simply strung together by some common theme. In sense, its perhaps best to enjoy the music and songs and not analyze the words too much. Big Daddy brings plenty of heart to his music and the band is tight behind him. There is plenty of music hear (nearly 80 minutes), if one just gets into the spirit, then one will have a Blues Party. This is available from cdbaby or on itunes. Big Daddy Stallings website is http://www.bigdaddystallings.com.
My review copy was provided by Charles ‘Big Daddy’ Stallings and this review appeared in the June 2010 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 326).