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"Good Time Bluez With A Twist!!!": Press

Review- "Blues Evolution"

Fans of Blues Brothers styled offerings will lap this up as it befits that genre with every Memphis and Chicago soundbite present and correct. Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings has a nick-name that befits the genre. With harp, keyboards andtrumpets running throughout, this album has that big band sound that we may associate with the likes of '80s B.B. King. Stallings has a capable voice, yet not with the gravitas of King, nor with the guitar virtuosity. With the album topped and tailed by "Intro Boogie/Let's Boogie' and 'Thank-You Boogie' you can see what you're going to get. 'Blues Train Express' includes plenty of rolling harp providing railroad metaphor, 'Blues Line Dance' includes repeats of blasting trumpet phrasing to toe-tap to, and 'Blues Cowboy' has that undercurrent of 'Sweet Home Chicago'- successfully infectious. 'Booty Slappin' has that Albert Collins tongue-in-cheek innuendo vibe, while 'Hand Dancin' appears to go into Barry White territory. With 'Hola Senorita' and 'Cha Cha 3000' also doing exactly what their titles suggest, there is only the track entitled '2929' that attempts something different, except it doesn't! Beginning with an alien-invasion radio message requesting some "mo" Blues in the year 2999" the parody is complete and I surrender- I give in! Perhaps the irony is that "Blues Evolution" is actually stalling the Blues.

Gareth Hayes - Blues Matters

Review- "Blues Evolution"

Vocalist/guitarist Charles Stallings has wittily structured this disc to evoke a live performance: on "Intro Boogie" he plays the part of an emcee ("Ladies and gentlemen....(thank you for patronizing my CD!") befores his ensemble-a muscular crew that features trumpet, sax, harmonica, and keyboards as well as the usual guitarist/bass/drums nucleus-kicks into a rough-edged but ebullient uptown boogie shuffle. Stallings' impish creativity shines throughout. "Blues Train Express" kicks off with a horn riff that sound like a train whistle: "2929", set in a futuristic outer-space juke, sets the scene with a humorous sci-fi vignette, complete with synthesized squeaks and burbles and a multi-tracked, cyberized spoken vocal from an unnamed woman guest (maybe either Aleyshia or Quesse, Stakkubgs' "two oldest granddaughters." who are acknowledge on the inner sleeve but not included in the song credits). But it's not all gimmickry: "Cha Cha 3000" buoyed by a gently wafting string arrangement, is a mediative and affirming instrumental workout on which Glenn Workman's piano shimmers and cascades with elegance and Steve Levin's harp summons a comples meld of sophisticated romanticism and rootsy grit. Stallings' spoken intro to "Booty Slappin" (Time when a lot of you little girls need to be spanked!") might give some listeners pause, but it soon becomes clear that this is a fully consensual, if somewhat kinky, slap-and-tickle session meant to titillate rather that opress. At the disc's conclusion, Stallings signs off with "Thank-You Boogie", on which he introduces his band and then departs with the graceful panache of a well-seasoned showman. This is one of the most unabashedly good-timey, rollicking blues sets to come down the pike in some time. Let's hope Stallings holds his music and his show together and begins to make himself more of a presence on the contemporary club circuit, as well as on CD.

David Whiteis - Living Blues

Review -"Blues Evolution"

Review -"Blues Evolution"

Review- "Blues Evolution"

In the first thirty seconds of "Blues Evolution", guitarist and vocalist Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings declares "We're gonna do somethin' good for ya. We're gonna do something good for ya. We're gonna be bumpin' some blues at ya. We're goin' on a blues ride. Fasten your seatbelt." He's not kidding around. For the next 70 minutes he delivers on the promise with a wild and varied set of blues and blues-influnced music designed to make you feel good, and get you movin' and groovin'. Stallings comes at you head on right out the gate, with a Tower of Power/Roomful of Blues influenced "Let's Boogie," a rollicking instrumental romp that immediately kicks the CD into hight gear. Fueled by a driving horn section, it's a high energy blast of rockin' blues that wastes no time establishing Stallings and his players as one smokin-hot unit. With a guest stint from Mark Wenner of The Nighthawks giving his usual stellar performance on harmonica, it's a tune that's almost impossible not to move to. "Blues Train Express" pays homage to James Brown and his classic tune Night Train, while "2929" gives you a nod to Parliament, with its helium voiced intro that warns "do not attempt to adjust your radio, we control the treble, and we control the bass, do not try to seitch stations. In the year 2929 we made space contact for the first time". It's the Mothership meets the blues in a funky shuffle about spreading the blues news throughout the galaxy. Hobbsville#2 is a ten-minute blues narrative that starts out over a slow Muddy Waters-inspired melody, and then midway through turns into a John Lee Hooker boogie. It's an entertaining autobiographical journey as Stallings recounts pivotal people and moments in his life, giving a little insight into how he became who he is. "Booty Slappin'" is pure dance floor funk. Extolling the virtues of smacking the backside, its slightly salacious lyrics proclaim "sorry, but a lt of you little girls need to be spanked". "Hand Dancin' " is a slice of 70s Philly old school soul, while "Strange Things" borrows a bit from Buddy Guy's guitar style. "Cha Cha 3000" comes with strings, and runs to the smooth side. Some very funky harmonica from Steve Levine keeps the schmaltz factor at vay, and gives it the feel of bluesy lounge music. "Hard Times/Good Times" is a timeless sounding "woke up this morning" blues. This particular morning Stallings moans about, among other things, "Lightning struck my outhouse". It's the epitome of the blues, and something that Stallings does very well. "Blue Line Dance" is a Stax/Volt flavored call to the dance floor. With a definite Memphis Horns sound, Stallings also once again pays tribute to James Brown when he gets to the bridge and shouts out "Here comes James". With that, the band turns on a dime and breaks into a Sex Machine type groove that's more than worthy of the Godfather. "Blues Evolution" certainly lives up to its name. While there are "traditional" sounding blues songs on the disc, Stallings does make a few stops and detours along the evolutionary chain of popular music derived from the blues, most notably into the territory of soul and funk. Over the course of 15 original songs, Stallings and company deliver an entertaining "Blues Evolution" that's full of loud and definitely recommended as a party disc. With a foot firmly in the past and an eye towards the future, Stallings furthers the "Blues Evolution" by presenting songs that are real, honest, and pay due respect to the traditions that brought us to this particular place in music history. His vision of the blues for the future is the same vision that's been shared ny blues musicaians throughout the years, which is keep the blues alive, and evolve with the times. It's all part of the evolutionary process, into which Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings and "Blues Evolution" fits perfectly.

Michael Macey - The Chesapeake Music Guide

Review- "Blues Evolution"

B-Town (Baltimore) Bluesman, Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings, has just issued, "Blues Evolution", a follow-up to his praised debut "One Night Lover". Stallings is a highly likable performer who brings a bit of down-home flavor to his performances. The strength of his performances are in the vocals and the solid instrumental accompaniments behind him. The band's mix of horns and fine down-home harp (mostly contributed by Nighthawk Mark Wenner, but CBM Calendar contributor Steve Levine is also present on a track or two) is nicely done-and saxophonist E Flat, responsible for the arrangements, merits mention. Stallings is at his best on a nice Jimmy Reed groove like "Going Down South," "Hard Times-Good Times" and the fantastical "2929." "Hobbsville#2" is a slow down-home talking blues piece that follows up the talking blues on the first track. He talks about growing up, family and Friday Night "Fish Fries," with some telling harp from Wenner, slowly accelerates during this performance, tossing in a bit of Jimmy Reed's "Upside Your Head." Elsewhere on the record, there are plenty of good-time grooves and songs like "Blues Line Dance" and "Blues Cowboy" will certainly get the dance floor full. The only significant weakness on the album are lyrics which don't cohere, and others (like"2929") that are just too fantastical. Sometimes I'm left thinking of many overlooked songs that do merit revival, which Stallings performs during his live performances. I beleive he should consider adding some of them into the mix on his next recording project. Still, Stallings' band provides very danceable grooves (swing dancers will love "Blues Evolution") and "Big Daddy" delivers his songs with feeling, humor and a good-time sensibility that wins listeners over. "Blues Evolution" is available from www.cdbaby.com and can be downloaded from iTunes. "Blues Evolution" has also been nominated by the DC Blues Society for the Blues Foundation's "Best Self-Produced CD" Award for 2008.>/font>

Ron Weinstock - Capital Blues Messenger

Review -"Blues Evolution"

Review- "Blues Evolution"

The popular Baltimore singer/songwriter/guitarist returns with an all original set on this self-produced sophomore release recorded at The Bratt Studio in nearby Woodlawn. It is an improvement over his 2004 debut, "One Night Lover," particularly in the area of sound quality. Additionally, his performances are brimming with energy and affably boisterous vocals. The basic band of Ron Jenkins (drums), Gail Parrish (bass), Kelvin O'Neal (trumpet), Joe "E Flat" Thomas (sax), Glenn Workman (keyboards), is augmented by a number of guests, the most prominent being the Nighthawks Mark Wenner who wails and warbles with fervor on the five tunes he is featured. There is variety among the 15 tunes, but in terms of actual blues evolution, Stallings is not reinventing the wheel here. Nonetheless, his exuberance is infectious and except for a few question marks in the collection like the improbable blues science fiction of "2929," syrupy sanguine pop-soul with "Cha Cha 3000" and "Hand Dancin'," and mundane Tex-Mex pop, "Hola Senorita," this is one of the best party albums to come along in the last ten years as there is something for everyone. Although he handles the three slow blues (Strange Things," "Hobbsville#2," and "Hard Times/Good Times") with soulful aplomb, his upbeat tunes will command the most attention. Personal favorites include the rollicking instrumental "Let's Boogie" that's propelled by Workman"s rumbling left hand and the horn section's brass balls attack, the strident brain-burning soul-blues dance anthem, "Blues Line Dance," the feverish Jimmy Reed-like loper, "Going Down south," and the bluesy updating of James Brown's "night Train" with the autobiographical "Blues Train Express." As a guitarist, Stallings seems most influnced by B.B., Albert, and Freddie King. If you're looking for some blues to get the party started, get to gettin, with "Big Daddy" Stallings.

Thomas J. Cullen III - BluesRag

Review- "One Night Lover"

Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings represented the Baltimore Blues Society at this past winter's International Blues Challenge in Memphis. For over 40 years, Stallings has been a mainstay on that city's blues scene. Don't be put off by the synthesized horns on the opening cut, "one Night Lover"; the record gets much better. "I Got the Blu-Hoos" is a derivative of the Muddy Waters classic "Mannish Boy." The combination of the Nighthawks' Mark Wenner's Chicago harmonica with Stalling's guitar and contemporary lyrics will make you forget about the first song. Stallings and Wenner show more affinity for the blues of the Windy City on "4x4 Woman," a slow blues featuring guitar and acoustic harmonica. Stallings also calls in Deanna Bogart to add her piano to "Gettin' Old," a Chicago-styled shuffle. But Stallings isn't locked into just one style of the blues. "B-3" has Stallings and B-3 player Dennis Fisher putting the ban through its acid jazz paces. "Sophisticated" has Wenner's harmonica firmly planted into contemporary jazz with Fisher's B-3. On "Swing," Stallings calls on today's youth to learn to swing to his groove. I hope someone's turning down the subwoofers and listening. Then, Stallings and Wenner hammer home the blues on "Hobbsville," a tribute to the blues and the people Stallings grew up with in North Carolina. Finally, Stallings funks up the blues on cuts like "Funky Farm," and "Soul Rock and Roll." This debut comes with the promise that there will be more to be heard from "Big Daddy".

Art Tipaldi - Boston Blues News

Review- "One Night Lover"

Baltimore Guitarist Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings, a truckdriver who bills himself as "The Mayor of B-Town," has begun a new career as a Bluesman-and, in a sense, he's still truckin'. The 13 tracks on his First CD are Mainly Upbeat, Good-Time Blues such as the title track, Swing, Funky Farm, Soul Rock'n'Roll and a trio of instrumentals. Mark Wenner's harp adds a taste of Chicago to "I Got The Blu-Hoos" and "4x4 Woman", and Deanna Bogart's rolling piano provides the foundation for "Gettin' Old" and "She Devil". The disc's high point is the extended "Hobbsville Blues", where both Wenner and Bogart help Stallings tell his story of growing up in rual North Carolina and of the otherwise forgotten men from whom he learned the Blues. True to tradition, the proceedings close with a gospel number, "Thank You, Jesus.

JDK - Living Blues

Review- "One Night Lover"

"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 sprasling 10-minute epic that roots around a kitchen sink full of imagery to a Jimmy Reed Boogie. To bail 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 Wnner 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.

Dennis Rozanski - City Paper
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