Deep In My Soul Big Daddy Wilson
- 1I Know 03:12
- 2Ain't Got No Money03:15
- 3Mississippi Me 03:35
- 4Tripping On You04:25
- 5I Got Plenty 04:08
- 6Hold On To Our Love03:15
- 7Deep In My Soul04:38
- 8I’m Walking 04:16
- 9Crazy World 05:23
- 10Redhead Stepchild 04:06
- 11Voodoo 03:21
- 12Couldn‘t Keep It To Myself 00:49
Info for Deep In My Soul
The American South casts a powerful spell. The sons and daughters of those deep states might stray from their hometowns, make their fortunes and families overseas. But wherever they roam, the South is there under their skin – and one day it will call them home. So it was with Deep In My Soul: the album that lured Big Daddy Wilson from his base in Europe back to the US motherland. “It was like a homecoming,” he says. “To take it back home like this, back to my roots, was very sweet and special.”
Released in 2019 on Ruf Records, Deep In My Soul marks a triumphant US return for the North Carolina-born bluesman, who made his name on the European scene with acclaimed albums like Love Is The Key (2009) Thumb A Ride (2011), I’m Your Man (2013), Time (2015) and 2017’s Neck Bone Stew. The seeds of this new album were sown in May 2018, when Wilson travelled to Memphis, Tennessee, for preproduction alongside respected guitarist Laura Chavez and rock-steady bassist Dave Smith. And all the pieces fell into place when the bandleader started work with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines at his Bessie Blue Studios in Stantonville.
Completing the album at the iconic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Wilson was aware of walking in the footsteps of the greats. But even in a recording facility that once hosted titans from Etta James to Duane Allman, these new songs measured up. There’s the brassy soul of I Know. The heartfelt ripple of Mississippi Me. Wilson takes us from the rubberband funk of Tripping On You and the reggae-flavoured I Got Plenty to the funky wah-driven Voodoo and the slow-burn atmosphere of Crazy World. “Normally, I go with the acoustic vibe,” he explains. “But I was shooting for a soulful, more electric vibe with a band on this one.”
As for Wilson’s lyrics, Deep In My Soul addresses love in all ist forms: “Voodoo is about a holy man who don't believe in voodoo, but this woman got some type of hold of him that he can't break free from. Hold On To Our Love is about a mixed couple trying to hold on to the love of their life despite the pressure from this world. I Know is when you found the love of your life, everything inside of you tells you that, no doubt about it. So you see – it’s all about love. It’s always about love.”
Some things change. Others stay the same. And with Deep In My Soul, Big Daddy Wilson’s music and career come full-circle in style. “I see it as a journey,” he says of his incredible backstory. “It’s the journey of a man who found himself deep in this beautiful music called the blues and finally, after 25 years, made it back home…
Big Daddy Wilson, vocals
Laura Chavez, guitar
Dave Smith, bass
Steve Potts, drums
Will McFarlane, guitar, backing vocals
Mark Narmore, keyboards
Rick Steff, organ
Brad Guin, saxophone, backing vocals
Ken Waters, trumpet, backing vocals
Mitch Mann, backing vocals
Trinecia Butler, backing vocals
Kimberlie Helton, backing vocals
Produced by Jim Gaines
Big Daddy Wilson
was born more than 50 years ago in a small town called Edenton, North Carolina. The population of Edenton counts less than 6000, 55% African Americans, 25% below the poverty line. “We were very poor but I had a very beautiful childhood“, Wilson remembers. “Me and my sisters were raised by Mom and Grandma. We lived a simple life, we went to church every Sunday, school on weekdays. I also worked back then on the tobacco plantation and in the cotton fields, I was a real country boy.“ Wilson sang in church but he never thought about going on stage. “I was extremely shy.“ His guardians meant well for the fatherless boy and they often sent him to church also during the week. “That won´t hurt him, keeps little Wilson away from drugs and off the streets.“
Young Wilson quit school at 16, and sometime later joined the US Army. Being a poor black man in the south and living in a small town, jobs were scarce. After being stations in Germany, the young man became homesick. “I found out the quickest way to go back home was to see that you got married. They’ll allow you a vacation time about two weeks to go home to get married. Wilson convinced his officers of his impending wedding and returned Stateside, refusing to return to Germany. After six weeks his mom was so worried that she begged him to go back to the military. “And so I was back in Germany.“
A few years later Wilson met a German girl who became his wife. She is the reason for him staying and also the reason for a poem which became Wilson´s first song.
And then Wilson heard the blues for the first time. Back in Edenton he had listened to music only in church and from the local, country radio station. But now he went for the first time to a real blues concert. “I met the blues here in Germany. I didn’t know what the blues was before“ Big Daddy Wilson says. “It was here that I found a part of me that was missing for so long in my life.“ It did not take long and the shy guy who had written some poems started looking for melodies. He went on stage, jammed all over the German blues scene and made an impression with his warm and soulful voice. He began touring with bands and as a duo and even released a few records. “My sister came all the way to see me perform and she couldn’t believe it. No, that’s not my brother. It seems like all my shyness was gone – thanks to my music. “
Champion Jack Dupree, Louisiana Red, Eddie Boyd... many musicians who made Europe their home and brought the blues with them succeeded here better than in the U.S. Even Luther Allison lived in Europe for 14 years before his big break. And now there´s Big Daddy Wilson, an American singer and songwriter who found his home in northern Germany. But something is different regarding Big Daddy Wilson. When he came over from the U.S. there was no blues in his baggage. He initially discovered the blues here in Germany which is where he will begin his international career.
With his international solo debut on RUF Records Big Daddy Wilson is going to take one step further in his late career as a musician. For “Love Is The Key“ he recorded his own songs exclusively with a small band; taking it back to the roots, often reduced to acoustic instruments, but always full of soul. You can listen to his very first song here,“ Anna“ the song about his wife. Gospel is the foundation for “Keep Your Faith In Jah“, but this doesn’t keep the songwriter Wilson from praising the talents of a gypsy queen from New Orleans, “Jazzy Rose“. In “Hard Days Work“, Big Daddy uses monotone drones for hypnotic effects on the listener, while breezy off beats Jamaica-style let “Dreaming“ to swing along. Autobiographic aspects can be found elsewhere: “Ain´t No Slave“reminds us of the African-American history and at the same time makes us aware of Wilson’s grown confidence. His good friend Eric Bibb guests on two songs about Wilson’s roots ,”Country Boy” , “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”. He’s very proud of Bibb´s presence because “I’ve learnt so much from him,” says Wilson.
The fruits of this learning can be tasted on Big Daddy’s imminent European Tour. Does he dare to imagine that he could take this music all the way back to his roots in North Carolina?
“That’s a dream, but one that makes me nervous“ the Father of three laughs; it’s clear that his homesickness is gone – along with his shyness.