Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BABY CHARLES: THE PIGALLE CLUB 04/04/2008

BABY CHARLES
BABY CHARLES

In a sentence- "Treasure this band Baby Charles. If you are truly fans of sweaty funk this is the real deal."

Their praiseworthy ambition is straightforward- to take the music back to it's roots and revive the vintage funk production (yesterday's sounds today!) and believe me, they're doing their job pure and simple. After 3 solid gold 45s, all of which have found safe homes in funk clubs around the world.

They have been heartily endorsed by DJ's such as Giles Peterson, Keb Darge, Our very own Snowboy and Andy Smith, who was spinning furious funk cuts on this same night too. I find them relaxed about to storm the stage in serious launch mode. They were poised and ready to unleash their top notch debut album on an un- suspecting crowd at the rather sumptuous Pigalle Club in Piccadilly W1.

Bursting on stage, with their bubbling bass driven instrumental 'Treading Water', saw them instantly win over the crowd. There muscular grooves were so deep in the pocket that not even a fleet of Morphy Richards appliances could iron them out! Killer drumbreaks from Alex Kirkwood and his trusty bass partner Simon Hill and the tightly knitted other brothers and sisters in the band, ensured a great set ahead.

Led by the raw and unadulterated deep Funk Diva herself- Dionne Charles. When it comes to lungs she's got two pairs! Dionne was in fine fettle delivering a stunning vocal performance in her own unique style, a Young Aretha out of the ether! It was a delight to see her strutting her stuff and inspiring the floor to do likewise.

Highlights for me was the insanely catchy Afrobeat version of 'I bet you look on the dancefloor' which just goes to show a good song can be covered in just about any genre you care to choose. Another stand out track was DJ Shadow's 'This time' the album version is just about the most soulful track I've heard in ages but let's not forget their self penned numbers too and what a diverse bag that is! The afore- mentioned 'Treading water' kicking off like an early Groove Collective offering. The JB'S signature 12/8 influence on 'Hardman to Please' and the chicken lickin guitar picking on 'invisible' which came across as a lost Meters classic, praise indeed!

I left the club in a euphoric state and a lightheaded daze. It had been a privilege to see Baby Charles in fine, infectious form. This was a class act to behold. No wonder Mark Lamarr jumped at the chance to do the album's sleevenotes. I've just let you into the secret of one of Britain's finest rising acts. Just don't tell EVERYone about them will you now?;)

A big shout must go out to Corrinna Greyson who was the fine and able support act, another rising star diva and budding impresario who organized the gig via her G-Spot productions, who have quickly become one of the UK'Âs funk and soul sceneÂs favourite live music promoters putting on The New Master Sounds, Stoned Soul Picnic and DJ'S Andy Lewis Andy Smith and Guy Hennigan to name but a few.....
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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