2012 – A direct result of so many requests for the great blues pieces long part of my repertoire as well as songs and tunes that reflect my roots. Won 3 Victorian Blues Awards and the Australian Song Contest Instrumental Category.
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As a Melburnian acoustic picker of comparable dedication and dexterity, one similarly influenced by Brownie McGhee and other US country blues masters, Nick Charles is an obvious keeper of the flame.
Into the Blues, a mixture of originals and covers that have been staples of his solo career, advances incandescently any succession claims the artist might hold. One of the more recent compositions, the poignant instrumental Tilder’s Blues, acknowledges Charles’s long association with the local legend. Interpretations of Hey Hey and Guitar Shuffle reflect his (and Tilders’s) admiration of Big Bill Broonzy with equal eloquence.
The self-composed Molly’s Rag is more of a nod to Blind Blake. While Charles’s singing lacks the inherent blues gruff that characterised Tilders’s smoky vocals, he gives it his best shot on the swing-thing Strange Things Happen at Night, abetted by Pete Fidler’s lap dobro.
Inspired self-accompaniment compensates for any absence of grunt in his delivery of Mississippi John Hurt’s Frankie and Albert and Otis Rush’s rockier So Many Roads. Playing creaking resophonic slide guitar and 12-string respectively, Charles teases every nuance and variation out of Tampa Red’s Denver Blues and the well-thumbed traditional Careless Love.
Former partner-in-rhyme Alex Burns’s harmonica illuminates the bouncy spiritual Light at the End of the Road. Bruce Haymes’s piano embellishes another of Charles’s songs, You Ain’t Got No Friends. Brushed snare and double bass lend optimum assistance in the more leisurely, melodic and harmonics-infused Sunset Blues.
LABEL: Black Market Music
RATING: 4 stars