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Samoa Wilson with the Jim Kweskin Band: I Just Want to be Horizontal

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Samoa Wilson with the Bob Kweskin Band: I Just Want to be Horizontal
Photograph courtesy of the band

This recording entitled I Just Want to be Horizontal, featuring Samoa Wilson with the Jim Kweskin Band may seem to show the vocalist heading into the proverbial countryside of Americana, but there is plenty here to suggest that she listened to the sounds of the city before she headed out of there. So, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a collection of folksy music. The use of the word “Americana” is in its broadest possible sense; which is to say that this music by Miss Wilson and the rest of these fine musicians is touched by the elemental feeling of the Blues and also swings with jazzy abandon when it is required to.

But “the sound of the Delta” and the “gutbucket” is not something that you will hear on this recording; nor will you feel the heat of the sweaty sensuousness of the jook-joint. And still “refinement” is also not something that Miss Wilson and the Jim Kweskin Band reach out for here. Rather the arrangements mean to pay tribute to the music that was made famous by the men and women of The Blues and of Jazz in the best way that they can – and that is by flipping the metaphor away to reflect a life lived and breathed amidst the echoed in the dusty suburbia and the folksy twang of the countryside of Americana.

Miss Wilson is a vocalist who reaches into the heart of the melodies and their stories and re-imagines them as if the speak to her in a very special way. But her greatest achievement in the performance of these songs is that she achieves perfect unmannered neutrality, never rushing the words – and the emotions in the lyric of each of the songs. Rather she lets them unfold ever so naturally, without guile and without imposing a particular style upon them. Thus each song emerges with a character uniquely its own, with earthy drama that plays out at its own pace.

The Jim Kweskin Band makes its presence felt on each and every tune with a performance that is efficient and eloquent and – and important of all – without gratuitous virtuosity. Soloing is brief and expressly intended to enhance the melodic and harmonic value of each piece. Thus, whether evocative of broken relationships or a happy coming together of sorts, of cold nights or long, rainy days, each track takes us to some exciting place with trusted and inspiring musical friends.

Track list – 1: After You’ve Gone; 2: I Just Want to be Horizontal; 3: Trust in Me; 4: I Cried for You; 5: The Candy Man; 6: Inch Worm; 7: That’s Life I Guess; 8: Until the Real Thing Comes Along; 9: Me, Myself & I; 10: Our Love is Here to Stay; 11: Kitchen Man; 12: At Ebb Tide; 13: Lover Come Back to Me; 14: Easy to Love; 15: He Ain’t Got Rhythm; 16: I Wished On the Moon; 17: Someone Turned the Moon Upside Down

Personnel – Samoa Wilson: vocals; Jim Kweskin: vocals, finger-style guitar and arrangements [1, 6, 9]; Titus Vollmer: lead and rhythm guitar, Hawaiian-style slide guitar, ukulele and arrangements [2, 3, 12, 13], and horn arrangements [14, 16]; Mike Davis: trumpet and cornet; Paloma Ohm: alto saxophone; Dennis Lichtman: clarinet, fiddle, mandolin, alto saxophone [15] and arrangements [2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 15]; Matthew Berlin: bass; Jeff Brown: drums; Sean Read and Maddie Read Clarke back-up vocals [12]

Released – 2020
Label – Kingswood Records LLC
Runtime – 1:06:41

Based in Canada, Raul da Gama is a Canadian poet, musician and accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically. Raul studied music at Trinity College of Music, London and has read the classics, lived and worked in three continents and believes that there is a common thread running through every culture on earth. It is this unifying aspect of humanity that occupies his thoughts each day as he continues to write poetry and critique music. His last book was The Unfinished Score: The Complete Works of Charles Mingus, a book that relocated the life and works of the great American composer and bassist, Charles Mingus, to the landscape of poetry. He is currently at work on a poem of some length.

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