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Wilson Meadows

From Soul Express 3/1995


Wilson was one of The Meadows Brothers, who made some waves in the late 70's, and now he is back with a solo set, MEMORIES, on Bob Grady Records (BGRCD 9501). The label specializes entirely in country music, and Wilson's is the first soul album they've had. When asked about its success in the States so far, the label owner, Mr. Bob Grady answers that "it's not released over here yet. It's only released in Europe. The best market at this moment seems to be in England and in Japan." Wilson himself adds that "they wanted to start in Europe and see what happens, what kind of response they would get from there."
Wilson also told about the history of the album. "I was going into Mike Headrick's studio just to put down some demos, and he suggested that I'd start working on something. We put about three or four songs together, at which point Bob Grady heard those songs, and he played them to someone in England, and that's how it all came about. They wanted me to go back to the studio to finish an album."
Mike Headrick is a guitar picker and the owner of Mikron Recording, where this set was recorded at, and he also produced the whole thing together with Wilson.
One of the background singers is Jeanette Meadows. "She's my wife. We have two children, one is thirteen and the other is six. My daughter plays saxophone in a band at school, but other than that they're not involved in music any way."
The set opens with a catchy and breezy floater, When You're Getting My Love, which would make a perfect single. In the same league there are Memories Keep Hangin' On, Everybody Needs Help and two more quiet mid-pacers, Oh Girl and Just Can't Do Without You. Stroll It is really what it says, "I tried to have a little diversity on this CD. I wanted something up-tempo." The closing cut, a snappy Go On And Cry, is a rework of what Wilson did already in '67 on Heigho Records.
Of the five pleading and poignant ballads (such as I Promise, Tell Him and Where Will This Leave Me) Let's Cut Out This Game rang a bell, because melodically and arrangement-wise this country & soul slowie reminded me of Don't Take It Away (by Troy Seals & Max D. Barnes), which the brothers recorded in the late 70's. "I tried to come close to that. It was a great song."
Almost every tune comes from Wilson's pen, but there's one notable exception, a deepie Hold On My Heart made famous by Reuben James and Dalton Reed in soul circles. "Actually, I think Bob Grady and some of his associates chose that one."
Memories is a pleasant and memorable soul set with Wilson's high, vibrating tenor coming close sometimes to Curtis, sometimes to Smokey or, of the more contemporary ones, to Robert Tillman. It's no wonder he names Sam Cooke his idol - also Jackie Wilson, The Isley Brothers, The Drifters - ever since he got into soul music in his early teens, when thirteen-fourteen.
-Heikki Suosalo
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