Big Daddy Wilson
Deep in My Soul
Big Daddy Wilson was born Wilson Blount in the small town of Edenton, North Carolina. He recalls “Me and my sisters were raised by mom and grandma. We lived a simple life, we went to church every Sunday, school on weekdays. I also worked back then on the tobacco plantation and in the cotton fields. I was a real country boy. I was extremely shy”. He sang in church but never professionally.
Jobs were scarce for a poor black teenager in the south and at the age of sixteen Wilson quit school to join the US Army. He was stationed in Germany but soon became homesick. Soldiers were allowed to go home to get married so he took advantage of the opportunity even though his impending wedding was nonexistent. After outstaying his furlough his mom begged him to return to the military and so he did. Soon afterwards he met a German girl, married and settled in Germany.
Wilson discovered the blues in Germany and began songwriting and jamming whenever he could. He released his debut “Get On Your Knees and Pray” with his band the Mississippi Grave Diggers in 2004. He followed up with recordings in a duo format; and recorded his solo album “Love Is The Key”, his first for Ruf Records, in 2009. Wilson’s uniquely rich vocals resulted in numerous follow-up recordings including 2015’s “Time” with special guest Eric Bibb.
Wilson joined Ruf Records Blues Caravan in 2017 and released “Blues Got Soul”, with Vanessa Collier and Si Cranstoun, featuring Laura Chavez on guitar. Ruf followed-up with a live album recorded in Switzerland as part of their “Songs from the Road” series.
“Deep in My Soul” was produced by the Grammy winning Jim Gaines and begun at his Bessie Blue Studios in Stantonville, Tennessee. The album was completed at the FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; where Aretha, Etta James, and Otis Redding recorded. The band includes Wilson, vocals; guitarists Chavez and Will McFarlane; keyboardists Mark Namore and Rick Steff; Dave Smith, bass; Steve Potts, drums; and the horn section of Brad Guin, sax; and Ken Waters, trumpet. Background vocalists include Guin, Waters, Mitch Mann, Trinecia Butler, and Kimberlie Helton.
Eleven songs were written or co-written by Wilson. The soulful “I Know (She Said)” and “I’m Walking” were both written with Chavez who gets to solo on the latter; and again on the fabulous title track. “Tripping On You” and “Voodoo” are funky tunes while “I Got Plenty” is reggae based. “Mississippi Me” is from Sandy Carroll (a.k.a. Mrs. Gaines) and Hall of Fame songwriter Namore.
Wilson’s lyrics are wonderful; my favorite being “Ain’t Got No Money”. “I’m a full grown man, with strong loving arms; I’ll squeeze you tight until the morning come. Chop your wood, baby mow your grass, do anything just to make you laugh…I’ll take care of you baby, treat you like a lady. Well I ain’t got no money, but I show got a hold lot of honey”.
The closer “Couldn’t Keep It To Myself” is credited as traditional with an arrangement by Wilson that features the fabulous background vocalists. Throughout the recording Gaines’ production provides a sense of warmth to the listener.
Wilson says it best about his music and career. “It’s the journey of a man who found himself deep in this beautiful music called the blues and finally, after twenty-five years, made it back home…”