Worth the Wait
Like the prodigal son, DC native Chartlie Owen has returned to the DMV (Distict-Maryland-Virginia) after decades on the West coast where he fronted the Dynatones as well as part of the house band at various venues. Now he has this release produced by Jim Pugh, who was the keyboardist for the Dynatones, as well as others including Etta James. In addition to Pugh (and Owen's own trumpet on 4 tracks), among those heard in the backing including saxophonist Nancy Wright, drummer Paul Revelli, Jon Cleary (piano on one track) and Curtis Salgado (a duet on one track).
This is mostly an album of southern soul and blues ably played and capably sung. Owen shows clear affection for this material and his renditions of the O.V. Wright classic "I Don't Know Why," James Carr's "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man," Little Milton's deep blues "So Mean To Me" and classic urban soul "We're Gonna Make It," Johnny Adams' "It Ain't the Same Thing," and Johnny Taylor classic "Cheaper to Keep Her," show him an able singer although his renditions do not reach the level of Carr, Milton, Adams and Taylor, as capably sung and played as they are. His affection for New Orleans R&B is reflected in the Adams cover along with a nice treatment of Allen Toussaint's "On the Way Down," along with surprising, and well-sung recreations of Tommy Ridgely's "Let's Try and Talk It Over," along with Lloyd Price's "Just Because."
A couple of ballads stand out including his rendition of Jesse Winchester's "No Pride At All," and Allison Moorer's "Soft Place To Fall," that closes this recording. These have a warmth and do not suffer from unavoidable comparisons with some soul legends. Owen is a very good singer, and fans of classic soul with a dose of blues should find "Worth the Wait" quite entertaining.
I received my review copy from a publicist. He is performing Sunday evening, July 23 at JV's in Falls Church, Virginia and I hope to enjoy his music live. Here is Charlie Owen performing "Can I Change My Mind."