She (October Records)
Willie Wisely

By Paul Moffett

Willie Wisely is to the Beatles as Dan Bern is to Bob Dylan.

Only better, in part because the Beatles (and Wisely) were/are superior composers, but also because Wisely and his producer, John (Strawberry) Fields (label credit), make no particular effort to hide those influences. It's in the booklet notes.) Rather, he celebrates that heritage by exploring some of the musical territory that was just skimmed by the Fab Four.

On She, Wisely writes exuberantly, as incendiary as a youth discovering and exploring sex ("Sleeping with Girls," "Ready to Wear") can be, but this is really little different from the peppy pop love songs Lennon and McCartney wrote (and which were No. 1 hits) early in their career. Wisely is simply in a different era, when lyrics can be far more explicit than they were in the 60s: "touch her leg to see her squirm / Roust her sleepy world / Paradise, sleeping with girls." From the duet (with Karen Paurus) "Lady of Love," to "Vagabond" to "Loander My Guitar," it's girls, girls, girls. He's besotted.

Fortunately, he's a pretty good writer and since several of Wisely's songs have been getting airplay in the AAA market, particularly "Ready to Wear," it's plain that the material is sufficiently commercial to make his potential success large.

A little sweet sexy pop never hurt anyone, eh?

Did it?

Wisely will be performing at the free Riverpoints Festival on July 11, on the Wharf at 4th Street.