As he announces on the opening Intro to his new CD Call Me Big Daddy (Tai Jeria Record Co), it is the fourth recording by Baltimore Blues Guitarist and Singer, Charles ‘Big Daddy’ Stallings. Like his last CD, this CD is presented as if a live club date where on the intro track he introduces the others in his band and some special guests. Then there is a mix of old-school soul, funk and blues in the songs before he closes the recording with an ending track again thanking folks with dubbed in crowd applause.
The strength of Big Daddy’s music is the warmth and humor of his vocals as well as the strong, well rehearsed band supporting him. With Joe Thomas on alto sax, LeRoy Flowers, Jr. on bass and Michael Devilson on drums are the core on this recordings. Steve Levine, his regular harmonica player is on one selection with another DC area harmonica player, Anthony ‘Swamp Dog’ Clark handling the bulk of the harmonica playing on this disk. Another important player on this is Clarence Ward III who plays mostly trumpet and flugelhorn, but adds booting tenor saxophone on some songs. Others can be heard as well, but space limits my enumeration of everyone.
The material on this recording is however mixed. Big Daddy Stallings has written all of the material, but their is too much fluff such as the two-part Boody Pop and Lock as well as Bunny Hop 2012 and James #2. The latter number is the second tribute he has recorded to James Brown and is a nice piece of funky playing with a tough tenor sax from Clarence Ward III. Better is Big Daddy’s duet with Nadine Rae, Million Dollars, where he sings about if he had a million dollars he would give it to her which then recounts him dreaming that he has given everything to her and she has left him broke and dusty. Also he has the third in his series of down home talking blues Hobbsville, with his affable recollections of growing up matched by a nice lazy Jimmy Reed groove (and nice Swamp Dog harmonica) although the third part of this installment (Bonny Lee’s) mutates into a borrowing of a Little Milton theme, as he sings Bonny Lee’s all right to Little Milton The Blues Is All Right. Another nice track is the ballad Don’t Cry, which benefits from the warmth of Big Daddy’s singing.
I cannot unreservedly recommend this as there is too much filler material here. Those familiar with the prior albums by Big Daddy Stallings will know what to expect and you can make your decision in part of that, or those fortunate enough to seeing Big Daddy live might likely pick it up when seeing him. Like Big Daddy’s prior CDs (and I recommend his 1st CD One Night Lover), it is available on cdbaby.com and other better stores and websites.
I was sent this by Big Daddy Stallings. Here is Big Daddy Stallings in performance. Big Daddy Stallings will be appearing at Gator Appreciation Day on June 1 at Lamont's Entertainment Complex, 4400 Livingston Road in PoMonkey Maryland. Among others appearing are Miss Jody, Stacy Brooks, Jim Bennett & Lady Mary, Clarence “The Blues Man” Turner, and the DC Blues Society Band. For more information on this terrific show, call Lamont's at 301-283-0225.