Couldn't believe it when I heard Charles Walker was appearing in Morecambe on June 3rd just gone. I picked up a 12" of his a while back 'See Me' from '83 and whilst nothing spectacular, it's a pleasant slice of Southern Soul and the man does have a great voice.
Well, if he's on my doorstep, it would be rude not to have a gander...
That day I also found out on the Platform linked website that Charles Walker was once part of the group 'Little Charles & the Sidewinders!' who are highly regarded by the 'Northern Soul' crowd. Their words, not mine. I'm sure a lot of you on here are like 'Of course!' (I didn't know...)
Turned up to the event on time to be told the band was running late as they were stuck in traffic travelling up from Brighton. I did remember hearing on the radio there was a bad smash on the M6 which consequently was closed off. Ah well there's a pub attached to the Platform (the Platform being the old railway station in Morecambe), I'll have a pint and see... Couple of familiar faces turned up and we got chatting, altho I did think of sacking it off, as they had a sound check and setting up to do... Within what seemed no time we were told they were here and will be on within half an hour.
So we goes in, and there were tables and chairs arranged in front of the stage and we're talking no more than 50 people!
The band comes on and goes straight into what I would term as country soul. Middle aged guys strumming their guitars... and getting off on it Anyway they were pleasant enough and after 2 numbers a door opened at the back of the stage and what I can only describe as 2 kids came out (1 on trumpet & 1 on sax) followed by the man himself.
The Platform has a glass roof and we were still only on 9ish. What must he have thought!? Coming onto a stage in a bright room, in all your fineries to a crowd of 50 peeps in a small poxy seaside town in the North West of England!?
The man was a complete professional, opened with a couple of southern soul mid tempos and then blew me away with a couple of deep soul ballads. The man may as well have been singing in front of 20,000 people! He gave it his all and then some. His stage presence was a joy to watch. The way he worked the microphone etc. and the 2 kids on wind were clearly enjoying themselves and doing a great job too!
I turned to one of my mates, with a look of disbelief! I said if this guy would have had a hit record, he would be up there amongst the greats...
After a 40 minute set, there was an interval and he came on and did another half. There was one ballad where he just had the mic down by his side and just ripped it out on his own - WOW! The rest of the set was geared at getting the few people there up dancing, which he did, apart from me, as I was stunned.
I left that do with a surreal feeling, hardly believing what I'd just seen. All for £9.
The man must be doing other dates around the country, surely, if you can check him out, altho he didn't do any 'Northern' tunes, just admire the voice and the professionalism of an unsung great!
(Just to think, I nearly sacked it off! )
orig posted in forum
Hi, I was one of the middle-aged gentlemen 'strumming' behind Charles Walker at Morecambe and all the other gigs mentioned in posts. I think your correspondent , like me, is suffering from middle-aged deterioration in his sight, as the 'kids' playing saxophone and trumpet, The WattSoul Horns are both in their mid-twenties!
Charles is back in the UK in October/November. Check out his record company website, www.zanerecords.com and get a copy of his great southern soul CD 'Number By Heart'. Check out his gig listings on www.moindigo.com. I also work with Lou Pride who unfortunately is not in the best of health at present and has had to cancel his September UK tour. If anyone wants to book Charles Walker please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org