Rockie Charles review…December 7, 2017…..

ROCKIE CHARLES

BORN FOR YOU

ORLEANS RECORDS  ORL 1911

BORN FOR YOU–OLD BLACK JOEL–OH MY DARLING LOOK WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO ME–FESTIS BELIEVE IN JUSTICE–SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH OUR LOVE–I NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD, I’M ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND–DON’T LET ME GO–I JUST CALLED TO WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS–I LIKE TO MAKE LOVE WHEN IT’S POURING DOWN RAIN–THERE IS A RAINBOW HANGIN’ OVER MY SHOULDER

Born in Boothville, LA, Rockie Charles (Merrick) got his inspiration to play guitar from his father, a musician who played in local juke joints.  And, he loved boats and water, growing up along the Mississippi.  At thirteen, his family moved to New Orleans, and his musical career began to take root.  But, there was always the pull of the river, and he became a tugboat captain at age eighteen.  Everyone knows, tho, that you can’t keep a good bluesman down.  Known as “The President Of Soul,” Rockie took out an ad in a local paper looking for gigs, and that got the attention of Orleans Records producer Carlo Ditta.  In 1996, the tacks that would become “Born For You” were laid down.  Twenty years down the blues highway, this Southern soul masterpiece has been re-issued,  now on vinyl and CD, showcasing the plaintive vocals and guitar of this truly unsung hero of the blues.

His quiet, almost reverential, singing voice easily reaches the upper registers, and is part Al Green, part O. V. Wright, and sho’ nuff 100% soul.  He takes eleven looks at life and love thru the eyes, heart, and soul of a true soul/blues pioneer.  Leading off is the title cut, as Rockie tells his lover that “I was Born For You.”  A chance meeting with an old friend leads to childhood reminiscences of “Old Black Joel,” while the plaintive ballad, “Oh My Darling, Look What You’re Doing To Me” features Smoky Greenwell on harp.  Rockie also gets in a playful mode with the pop-flavored “Festis Believe In Justice.”

Rockie gets us into the holiday spirit with “I Just Called To Wish You A Merry Christmas,” and riffs on a groove that a lot of us guys who live down South can relate to, “I Like To Make Love When It’s Pouring Down Rain.”  Our favorite was perhaps the most uptempo cut on the set.  The horns and backing chorus give a danceable groove to “I Need Your Love So Bad, I’m About To Lose My Mind.”

The reissue of Rockie Charles’ “Born For You”  returns to the limelight the incredible talents of “The President Of Soul!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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