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HONKY TONK - CHARLIE GILLETT'S RADIO PICKS

Ace (CDCHD1242)

Jesse Winchester, Big Al Downing, Delbert McClinton, Young Jessie  The Cadets, Joe South, Jack Scott, JJ Cale, Coasters, Bobby Charles, Amos Milburn, Mac Gayden, Dale Hawkins, Graham Parker, Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks, Bruce Channel, Dion, Eddy Raven, Rosco Gordon, Wild Tchoupitoulas, Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Barbara Lynn, Dire Straits, Bill Doggett, Manu Dibango.

This CD demonstrates disk-jockey Charlie Gilletts knack of finding the best tracks for his 1970s Radio London Honk Tonk radio show and many of these tunes, despite never being hits, are absolute diamonds. 

Although he always had an ear for new innovative material, Gillett recognised the importance of vintage stuff too so classics like the Coasters' hilariously hip Shopping For Clothes, Young Jessie And The Cadet's bopper Mary Lou and Dale Hawkin's masterpiece Susie Q were played along side more obscure tunes. He loved quirky stuff so he naturally fell for smouldering songs like JJ Cale's back porch ballad Call Me The Breeze, Joe South's laconic look at life Games People Play, Bobby Charles's dreamy, dusty epic Small Town Talk and the Amazing Rhythm Aces timeless tale of small town lust Third Rate Romance. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits knew exactly who to contact to get his music heard so he sent a promo of Sultans Of Swing to Charlie and one play had half the record companies in Britain queuing to sign the band. It's that original demo you hear on this CD.

The bulk of the material runs the gamut of American music - the R&B based bluster of Amos Milburn and Clyde McPhatter, the raunchy blues licks of Barbara Lynn and Rosco Gordon, the country Cajun singing of Eddy Raven, the rock and roll recklessness of Big Al Downing, Ronnie Hawkins and Jack Scott and the sheer New Orleans oomph of The Wild Tchoupitoulas' roaring out their anthem Meet De Boys On The Battle Front.

You can view this either as a tribute to the vision of Charlie Gillett or as just a cracking good anthology of terrific timeless music. It doesn't really matter how you look at it-it works on both counts!

 

Review Date: January 2010

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