Bobby Charles - S/T

(Bearsville, 1972 - Light In The Attic, 2014)


“You don’t need to read the liner notes to know that Rick Danko [of The Band] had a heavy hand in the production; the ten tracks hang together with the same kind of slack grace that Danko brought to his bass, and his trademark style—more rhythmic bumping than sustained playing—forms a nice counterpoint to Charles’ seasoned vocals… Charles’ voice here is easy, relaxed, and he sings his songs with a kind of loose, Kristoffersonian authority: “It’s all small-town talk,” he consoles his live-in lover on the album’s lone single, “You know how people are.” Later, he and his boys will slowly turn up the heat on the poor-man lament “All the Money” till it rolls into a boil of trilling sax, splatting trumpet, and Charles jokingly complaining “He got all the power, and he won’t give me none!” These aren’t great lyrics in the way that Kristofferson’s (or even Robbie Robertson’s) are — Charles isn’t shooting for posterity here — but they’re great in the same way that “A wop bop a loo bop” is a great line, or, if you prefer, “Tipitina, tra-la-la.” It’s not so much what Charles is singing as it is the general attitude, the kind of easiness afforded by failure and foiled expectations that can animate a couplet as banal as “You got a long face/Your head’s in the wrong place.” Words and music slide out like honey.” - M. Garner for Aquarium Drunkard