CD Review: The Billy Walton Band ~ Wish For What You Want



The Billy Walton Band
Wish For What You Want
Vizztone Records


The album opens as it means to go on with a wall of sound full of harmonies and the mixing of tones that makes the New Jersey based The Billy Walton Band stand out from the crowd; they have energy, fire and the ability to make you smile. The album is blues that rocks your socks and warms your soul of with songs that attract the ear and vocals blending in with the instrumentation throughout the album. The glowing guitar work from Ex- Southside Johnny guitarist Billy Walton, the rhythm section who ensure the shape of the tracks has a flow they control the fluidity of the music with a gentle reining in,with bassist William Paris & drummer Johnny D’Angelo added into the mix is the horn section Sean Marks and Ian Gray adding that layer of brass colour. The album also has two special guest Southside Johnny on harp and renowned organ player Mike Finnigan.

This is an album that delivers tracks that appeal with some rockier numbers, soulful tunes and quality blues. Opening with the title track you are invited to listen by a gravelly spoken voice then straight into an upbeat number. Half way through the album is a blues delight with mournful harp shaping the tone from Southside Johnny; Blues Come Knockin’ is a complete number with tough vocals and slide guitar that is delicious to listen too.

The sound gets heavier and the tempo raised with Come On Up a track full of urgency and  there is a tauntness in the playing that is the perfect intro into a stylish Billy Walton solo full of clean licks and riffs and the saxophone answers so the whole timbre is that of a conversation through the music.

As the  album approaches  the end we have a trio of tracks to take us home starting with,  Walk That Little Girl Home which is a ballad that is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen from the same New Jersey shore as Billy, the vocals are full of warmth and tenderness an exquisite track full of elegant playing followed by change of tempo with the  soul drenched It Don’t Matter, with Joey Stann guesting on saxophone creating a soulful number that you just have to tap your feet to and is the perfect number to lead into the closing track  Hudson County, again opening with spoken conversation and laughter it is a real live sound this is a fun track with an air of madness and the piano from Mike Finnegan and the horn section having fun. This is an album that just invites you to yes, listen again but also to get out and hear the band play live.

Wish For What You Want is delivered full of confidence; the production is kept light showing the talents of Tony Braungel so that a live sound is achieved with all the colour and energy you would expect from any performance of The Billy Walton Band.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

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