LOOSE MUSIC 1st June 2015
From the outset, it is clear that this album is a step forward for Danny. Opener, Clear Water, is a soul song, punctuated and driven by horns. It sets the intention of the set out – half a dozen albums into their career, Danny Wilson’s music has been a soulful interpretation of Americana, yet clearly planted in a London milieu – music from the Thames Delta if you will. This is the album that sees the band become a soul band playing Americana. The second track, Precious Cargo, is more business as usual – slide guitar, twangs etc but with a soulful backing chorus.
After their last album, the double that showed what a great live band they are, it was time to develop things a bit further. For example, This Is Not A Love Song stays within the country-blues parameters they have established but with a strong female soul backing line – in the way the Jerry Garcia Band used to use one. Can I Change My Mind is a proper soul song, with choppy rhythm guitar and soul back-line. Just Be Yourself is another soulful one, with a Percy Sledge tempo and Van Morrison influenced vocal approach. It’s predecessor, Word On The Wind, derives from the band listening to late-seventies Grateful Dead stuff in the van and tapping their “hippy funk” as Danny calls it. Other songs like It’ll Be Alright In The End could be from other stages in the band’s career, but that’s no bad thing.
Danny & The Champions, like his previous band, Grand Drive, remain cult favourites – much loved and, ahem, championed by certain radio programmes but not nearly as well-known as they should be. Starting out as a sawn off Springsteen, hymning cars, road trips, friendships and South London, this band has become something to cherish and as the closer fades out, you’ll have a warm and happy glow.
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