Ged Wilson – Tonight At Noon
13 songs – 45 minutes
English singer, songwriter and guitarist Ged Wilson’s third album is a collection of primarily acoustic blues-folk-rock songs, cleverly put together and nicely played.
The opening track, “What The Blind Man Saw”, perfectly sets the scene as it opens with two simple plucked harmonics on an acoustic guitar followed by a short descending chord progression before kicking into the driving main body of the song, with Oli Tabor’s drums setting an irresistible rhythm as Wilson’s over-dubbed slide guitar and harmonica weave melodies behind vocals that philosophically proclaim that “Everybody’s looking for what the blind man saw. Everybody’s looking but they don’t know what they’re looking for.”
The CD sleeve notes credit inspirations as catholic as Gil Scott-Heron, Miles Davis, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Led Zeppelin, although Tonight At Noon suggests that Wilson’s influences also include the early British blues artists, from the jazz-tinged “The Mighty”, which hints at an acoustic John Mayall, to the descending finger-picked riff and slide guitar of “Ain’t That A Shame” recalling the acoustic blues-rock of Rory Gallagher. Of course, given that Wilson is himself a product of the British blues boom of the 1960s, it is equally possible that they actually all shared similar influences.
The 60s of course was a revolutionary time for popular music, with musicians bringing a wide range of influences to bear on their music and Tonight At Noon, whilst fundamentally a blues album, also reflects the impact of jazz, folk, rock and pop.
Wilson wrote all the songs on Tonight At Noon other than two tracks where Wilson puts his music to the words of the late British poet and painter, Adrian Henri, the title track and “Love Is”. Both feature spoken word vocals that accentuate the word play in the lines. Wilson’s own lyrics range from the social commentary of “Different Class” and “The Mighty”, to the autobiographical “Northern Town” and the humorous “Irwell Delta Blues” – a nod to the river that flows through Manchester, England, and Wilson’s home town.
Blessed with a warm, husky voice, Wilson is also a fine harp player and guitarist. The slow, threatening “Evil” features a lovely opening acoustic guitar solo (as well as some perhaps over-the-top vaudeville-style evil laughter) while “Love is” contains some delightful swooping harp.
Wilson’s backing band of drummer Tabor, bassist Josef Kaspar and pianist Jack Baldus provide supple, unobtrusive support throughout, although he is equally impressive with just his guitar, as on the John Lee Hooker-esque “Irwell Delta Blues”.
Wilson’s tag line is that “this is music only a fully grown man could make.” That is a not unreasonable statement. There is a mature muscularity to the music that combines well with the knowing, worldly lyrics. Tonight At Noon offers something different. Well worth investigating.