Will Wilde Harmonica Stylishly covers Classics in a unique way

Will Wilde Harmonica Stylishly covers Classics in a unique way

Will Wilde hails from Brighton and his first foray into performing was when he formed The Neptune Blues Band in 2005 when he was 17 years old, and released his debut album “Nothin’ But Trouble” in 2008. Since then he has released two studio and one live album under his own name.

He comes from a musical family. “Music was always around me.” He says. “British hard rock and blues was the soundtrack to my childhood.” His grandfather was a wartime jazz ‘n’ blues pianist and his sister, Dani Wilde, is an acclaimed blues performer with whom I’m sure you are familiar.

Wilde studied drums at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music and yet it was the harmonica, guitar and vocals that ended up captivating him. None more so than the harmonica, obviously.

His latest release is one that brings shivers of expectation or horror from music lovers. Bring It On Home is covers with a twist expect the choice of numbers to be unexpected. This album pays homage to blues and rock giants, including Purple, Free, Sabbath, Tull and the master mouth organist, Sonny Boy Williamson II amongst others. Anyone brave enough to cover such recognisable classics needs to be not only good but also able to interpret in a way that pays tribute while being distinct. Not an easy job; does he achieve it? The answer is a conservative yes; musically they are all very faithful yet imaginative interpretations. The finest one of all is the last track. Parisienne Walkways has to be heard to be believed. The harmonica/mouth-organ/blues harp/moothie or gob-iron (as Ian Gillan calls it) playing actually replicates Moore’s guitar sound in a way beyond comprehension…stunning!

Many of the original tracks featured the harmonica, making it more acceptable to hear, albeit featuring more prominently. The first track is the brilliant Gallagher song, Bad Penny. There is quality guitar backing, recalling the ‘jangling’ intro of the original. There is a very flat sounding foot/bass drum on this, and some of the tracks, which irritates, However, the vocals are up to scratch too, but it’s when the harmonica takes the solo that the fascination grows. It actually works! Lazy, too had harmonica sections, but here Blackmore’s guitar and Lord’s Hammond are replaced by it. Again, it actually works. Vocally Wilde is no Gillan, but it doesn’t spoil the enjoyment, and Danny Giles puts in a very decent guitar solo too. I’m You Witchdoctor is so faithful; you would think Mayall was a guest (he isn’t). Harmonica instead of the ubiquitous flute on a Jethro Tull cover? Locomotive Breath is still instantly recognisable and enjoyable. Great guitar backing again from Giles. Peter Green era Mac is next. Love That Burns does just that; it is a superb reading of a great blues track. Sabbath’s The Wizard is the first misstep; this is the only time when Wilde’s vocals just don’t fit. Musically it is good, and the bass playing is actually the highlight. His version of Yer Blues reminds me of Jeff Healey’s brilliant take on this Beatles song; except with harmonica, of course. My Brother Jake sounds a little empty as the track is played straight, with the harmonica just echoing one verse. Next, a song written by the great Willy Dixon and first performed by the king of the mouth-organ, Sonny Boy Williamson II (oh, and Zeppelin), Bring It On Home is faithful to the Robert Plant version.

In summary then, a very enjoyable album with some exquisite interpretations and a few disappointments. It is worth getting for Parisienne Walkways alone and I doubt you will be disillusioned with many of the songs. A very worthwhile effort.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing: (original artists in brackets)

  1. Bad Penny (Rory Gallagher)
  2. Lazy (Deep Purple)
  3. I’m Your Witchdoctor (John Mayall)
  4. Locomotive Breath  (Jethro Tull)
  5. Love That Burns  (Fleetwood Mac)
  6. The Wizard  (Black Sabbath)
  7. Yer Blues  (The Beatles)
  8. My Brother Jake  (Free)
  9. Bring it on Home (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
  10. Parisienne Walkways  (Gary Moore)

Note: The commercial release should also include Politician by Cream

The Band:
Will Wilde: harmonica/vocals
Danny Giles: guitar
Victoria Smith: bass
Alan Taylor: drums

Recorded at Brighton Road Studios
Engineered by Ali Gavan
Produced by Danny Giles

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