The Dynamites Featuring Charles Walker
Soul music is here to stay, and it’s still evolving. The Dynamites Featuring Charles
Walker are living proof. Lead singer Charles Walker doesn’t imitate, emulate or try to
resuscitate a bygone nostalgic era. He is soul, the real deal, still carrying the flaming
torch of funk and soul lit back in the late 60’s at the Apollo Theater where he opened up
for icons like James Brown and Wilson Pickett.
Just as Ry Cooder thrust the nearly-forgotten Cuban heroes of son and bolero into
international fame on the album Buena Vista Social Club, so have The Dynamites
proven that national treasures of soul and funk like Charles Walker still walk amongst us.
What’s more, the fresh songwriting approach of Bill Elder, a.k.a. Leo Black, continues
to push the deep funk envelope, propelling Walker to sound equally at home singing a
scorching hot, up-tempo rocker as he does on a heart wrenching 60’s-style soul ballad.
The Dynamites aren’t alone. The burgeoning wave of the deep funk and soul movement
is turning heads. A 2008 article in USA Today included The Dynamites in the short list
of “acts that are wowing live audiences coast to coast with fresh songs and slamming
performances.” The article also got it right in asserting the relevancy and freshness of
the deep funk movement: “These critically lauded acts aren't cover bands, paying
homage to old heroes. They're creating their own legacies in a genre that the industry
seemingly shelved long ago.”
Apropos to being timely, The Dynamites second album, Burn It Down (out September
15, 2009), has something to say about life in 2009. From its raw opening notes, it wastes
no time getting to the gritty heart of the matter: complacency has ruled the roost for too
long and the old ways have got to go. Punctuated by staccato horn section bursts and
Walker’s intense proclamation that “it’s been a long time coming,” the vibe evokes the
ominous flames of incendiary times. But this isn’t about mere destruction, and vandals
didn’t light this fire. It’s a song about moving on, and above all about clearing space for a
new day and new possibilities.