Webb Wilder is back doing what he does best; that is, being Webb Wilder. Sixteen previously unreleased tracks and a handful of Beatnecks later you have solid proof that Wilder and company know how to bring the party. And bring it they do. The only question is, why did these tracks stay buried for so long?
Powerful Stuff! is a collection of studio and live recordings made between 1985 and 1993 that shows Wilder and the Beatnecks at top of their game. The material is solid from start to finish and leaves the listener hoping there is more yet to come.
The album kicks off with the urgent “Make That Move.” With a jangly guitar and a driving drumbeat, Wilder is flush with kinetic energy as he pushes the song along by sheer force of personality. It is the perfect rocking number to open this collection and sets the stage for all that follows.
“No Great Shakes,” is Wilder at his playful best; his tongue-in-cheek humor firmly in place as he tries to figure out how to connect with the woman who is the object of his affection. Written by Wilder and Bobby Field, the song is a comical look at the difficulty of connecting. The woman with “curves like the Batmobile” has a way of throwing him off balance:
But the fact of business
Is that I get dizzy
When you whip
That wild woman wiggle on me
“Lost in the Shuffle” is Wilder on the other side of the relationship, lost in the wake of his dazzling damsel. Left behind as she moves on, Wilder sees himself:
I was a kingpin standing tall
Now I’m just another gutter ball
I got lost in the shuffle again
“Powerful Stuff” is Wilder’s description of a woman so beautiful that she makes storefront mannequins turn their heads. Wilder is loopy and manic with desire for a woman the listener knows he will never succeed in winning. The over-the-top energy of Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks is what makes this album so much fun. It is as if the band threw a party for themselves and let you crash it. This record was meant to be played loud, really loud. This is roots rock at its best. Once the action starts Wilder never takes his foot off the accelerator. As the album jacket says, this is “TNT from Tennessee.”
Wilder’s oddball sense of humor is a constant thread throughout. He describes one relationship as “Dead and Starting to Cool.” He goes rockabilly on “High Rollin’.” Everything works on this record, and the remastered sound is great. By the album’s end, Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks are definitely sitting in the “Catbird Seat.”
Let’s all hope there is more of this in the vaults and that Wilder lets it all out. This is what rock and roll is about, freewheeling, all cares cast to the wind. Rock on Webb, rock on. www.theflamestillburns.com