Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Michelle Wilson: Wake Up Call

Backed by the Evil Gal Festival Orchestra, boisterous blues belter Michelle Willson summons up the spirit of Dinah Washington, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton and Big Maybelle on Wake Up Call (Bullseye 11661-9639-2; 47:33). Possessing an imposing set of pipes that could blow down all three of the little pigs’ houses, Wilson delivers the title track with a touch of sultry finesse, then turns around and wails with raucous abandon on Don Robey’s “Just Like a Dog” and Buddy Johnson’s “They Don’t Want Me to Rock No More.” She shows a great feel for swinging on shuffles on “Leap of Faith” and gets intimate on the noirish “Think About Me,” which has her in deep Dinah mode. There’s lots of exuberant, upbeat party fare here, like “Pleasin’ You,” the N’awlins flavored “Set You Free,” the R&B novelty number “Water Water” and the lighthearted “Mi My Moo.” Ken Clark provides a velvety, swinging B-3 cushion throughout while Scott Shetler kicks in some smoking tenor sax and Barry Fleischer adds some swagger on baritone sax. Good frat party music, circa 1962.

Originally Published