Mescal Canyon (label)
12 February 2021 (released)
12 February 2021
This is, officially, a companion piece to last year’s magnificent ‘Ain’t No Man A Good Man’, and as we have come to expect from Wily Bo, it both sits alongside the main album but also stands alone as a great listen in its own right.
What you, the listener, gets here is a series of remixes and remodels of numbers from all his albums, most of which turn the originals on their heads and make you look at them in a totally different light.
Walker has assembled a great troupe or artists on this set: Mike Ross, Troy Redfern, E D Brayshaw, Danny Flam, Karena K, Stevie Watts, Pete Farrugia all feature.
Now, when most people offer a remix they will offer a different bass line or add some backing vocals without really changing the core of the song or the production. When Wily Bo Walker gives you a remix he rips the original apart, strips out all the ‘stuff’ – often what attracted you to the song in the first place – add new ‘stuff’ and presents you with a totally different version of the song albeit just as listenable.
Take ‘Moon Over Indigo’. I love that track from the ‘Moon Over Indigo’ album, just adore the New York Noir feel of the song and the Danny Flam trumpet. What we get now is even darker with piano and a whispery organ over a stunning double bass, no trumpet and an eviscerating guitar solo which changes the whole feel of the song – in a good way.
Then you have ‘For The Children (When The Nightmares Call) – his latest single – the original was string laden and had a melancholic tone. Now it has more of a pleading tone, more of a call to the gods feel for the children. His vocal is grittier and harsher and the guitar solo just underlines the desperate tone of the song.
‘Velvet Windows’ used to be a jazzy little number with a swing rhythm and now it has transformed into a straight up country number complete with clucking banjo. A great sense of humour added - and it works!
Every track gets the treatment in such a way as to give you a whole new album of songs with a coherent feel, every one a stone delight and every one hovering between familiar and brand spanking new. Wily Bo Walker is a bloody genius!
I look at this as a whole new album rather than as a companion but it doesn’t matter as it is a great listen any way up.