His Name Is Charlie

-A +A
0

After four perhaps forgettable singles in the 90's, Charlie Wilson has finally lived up to expectation and reclaimed his throne as king of R&B. In “My Name Is Charlie, Last Name Wilson,� his album released in the fall of 2005 by Zomber Records, he collaborated with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, Twista and R.Kelly, who also was the executive producer. This album is a result of the coming together of the elite producers of today and one of the greatest vocalists R&B has produced.

Many youngsters are becoming familiar with the name Charlie Wilson. R&B connoisseurs know that Charlie Wilson has come from an era where names like Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang and Stevie Wonder frequented the charts. His own group, The Gap Band was formed in the early 70s and a string of hits ensued.

The Gap Band were a funky outfit fronted by the three brothers Wilson: Charlie on lead vocals; Ronnie on keyboards and trumpet; and, Robert on bass. They played in local night clubs and their father’s church back in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before getting the big break playing as a back up band for singer/songwriter and producer Leon Russell.

They started out following in the footsteps of Earth, Wind & Fire but then later fused the p-funk sound with their own to create a unique sound which saw them amass 16 albums spanning from 1977 to 1990 and included 10 top 10 Hits. Songs like “burn rubber on me,� “you dropped the bomb on me� and “outstanding� are forever entrenched in the American psyche.

The late 80s witnessed a development of a new type of R&B which was heavily influenced by hip-hop. It was coined “new jack swing,� with the producer Teddy Riley being its greatest proponent. This new movement in R&B created new stars in the world of music such as Jodeci, Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly. But all these singers relied heavily on Charlie's style of singing. Charlie's vocal technique went hand in hand with the development of this new street R&B sound. R. Kelly even proclaimed to be the modern day Charlie Wilson.

Life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for Charlie Wilson. Experiencing a slump in fortune, Charlie fought and overcame drug addiction. In 1992 he released his debut album “You Turn My Life Around,� which was a departure from the Gap Band sound and included more ballads than Charlie was used to recording. After four perhaps forgettable singles in the 90's, Charlie Wilson has finally lived up to expectation and reclaimed his throne as king of R&B. In “My Name Is Charlie, Last Name Wilson,� his album released in the fall of 2005 by Zomber Records, he collaborated with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, Twista and R.Kelly, who also was the executive producer. This album is a result of the coming together of the elite producers of today and one of the greatest vocalists R&B has produced. The high point of the album is probably “No Words� a chillin ballad in which Charlie sings from a woman's point of view and allowed Wilson to run free vocally. On the single “My Name Is Charlie, Last Name Wilson,� there is a distinct R.Kelly modern sound which did not allow Charlie much freedom, but the melodies are well established and work over heavy urban bass sound. There are also some up-tempo tracks, notably “So Hot,� with Twista and “You Got Nerve,� with Snoop Dogg. Even though the album is aimed at the hip-hop crowd, there are a few moments in it for even the soul purists to enjoy. It is a good mix of ballads and up-tempo tracks and will suit every mood.

Please send comments to letters@blackstarnews.com
****
To subscribe to or advertise in the world’s favorite Pan-African weekly newspaper please call (212) 481-7745. To comment on this article contact
letters@blackstarnews.com

Also Check Out...

THE MECCA OF PIZZA: LOMBARDI'
THE HU: BAND OF THE DECADE
The United Nations Prioritizes
People Of Color Rocked Tanglewood
ISHMAEL REED’S PLAY “THE HAUNTING
CONGRESSWOMAN NORTON WILL