Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings: One Night Lover
Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings, One Night Lover (B-Town Records) Big Daddy’s got the blues. Well, sort of. It’s that Charles Stallings’ troubles get aired in lighter, brighter shades than a prototypical moan ’n’ groan approach. Think “dance floor,” not “killin’ floor”; less “hellhound,” more “party animal.” This Baltimore trucker-turned-bluesman is ready to share his good times with as many that’ll listen and wiggle along. So his songwriting pen refurbishes a rusty, old blues chassis like Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” into a gleaming, new “I Got the Blu-Hoos.” And his guitar and big bear of a voice wallow in “Hobbsville Blues,” a sprawling 10-minute epic that roots around a kitchen sink full of imagery to a Jimmy Reed boogie. To bait wider audiences, there’s a big, brassy promotion to “Swing,” a horny new dance step dubbed “The Rub,” and some revival-tent testifying in “Thank You, Jesus.” Plus, every so often, the band gets tossed an instrumental jam to gnaw on, from the Hammond organ effervescence in “B-3 Blues” to “Sophisticated,” which lets Nighthawks’ harpist Mark Wenner break from shaking blue notes from the reeds for some uptown blowing instead. However, by reaching far, things don’t run too deep. Then again, as a party disc, One Night Lover declaws the blues, making them tame—and certainly fun—enough for even the crowd unable to tell their Howlin’ Wolf from their Snoop Dogg.