THE DYNAMITES featuring CHARLES WALKER > Kaboom!

Amy Winehouse, James Hunter, Sharon Jones…America’s appetite for authentic-sounding soul music has become increasingly voracious over the last few years, and it seems to be reaching an apex in 2007-just time in for another platter slathered in deep funk and stacked with soul, The Dynamites’ debut Kaboom!.Label: OUTTA SIGHT
[Rating: 4]

Amy Winehouse, James Hunter, Sharon Jones…America’s appetite for authentic-sounding soul music has become increasingly voracious over the last few years, and it seems to be reaching an apex in 2007-just time in for another platter slathered in deep funk and stacked with soul, The Dynamites’ debut Kaboom!.

Like Bettye LaVette, the Dynamites fall under the category of rediscovery because of singer Charles “Wigg” Walker, whose recent revival was set in motion by the Country Music Hall of Fame’s  Night Train to Nashville exhibit. Walker has consistently performed since that influential yet largely forgotten soul scene’s heyday, but it wasn’t until Dynamites leader Bill Elder recruited him to join the band that he finally found the right modern vehicle for his still solid pipes and still sharp songwriting.

The Dynamites’ Kaboom! is a perfectly produced party from start to finish, full of intense, insistent funk and Walker’s hard-won soul singing, but the song most likely to make it’s way into the soul canon is probably the most serious of the bunch. “Way Down South” is likely to resonate with the citizens of Walker’s one-time Crescent City home in a way those sappy post-Katrina money grabs never could: “Way down south we got hurricanes with beautiful names/287 years gone up in flames/Now the soul of a nation flooded in tears/half of a city just disappears!” It’s the kind of song that Walker likely wouldn’t have been allowed to record when he first hit the r&b charts, and it is one more reason rediscoveries like this are so important. They not only allow us to reconnect with an integral part of our collective cultural history but it gives a present voice to a generation we often unfairly relegate to the past.


Leave a Reply

KIM RICHEY: The Art of Layering

MEAT PUPPETS: Strange Days