Wayne's World

Charcoal Soul (ear X-tacy)
Wayne Young

By Jean Metcalfe

It's a Saturday night in '69 and you're walking down Fourth Street in the Derby City. As you approach the frantic neon identifying the Diamond Horseshoe, strains of "Time is Tight" beckon from the doorway. Nunh-nuh-nuh-nunh-nuh-nuh nunh-nuh-nuh-nunh-nuh-nuh . . . .

Welcome to the wonderful world of Wayne Young's Charcoal Soul.

"Shining Love" kicks off the first cut with a Booker T. and the MGs riff that sets the tone and continues mostly in that vein through the baker's dozen songs performed by this venerable Louisville musician. The album showcases a laundry list of gifted local musicians, songwriters, and recording talent and, though at times eclipsing Young's vocals, the musicianship is superb throughout.

Charcoal Soul's title cut is an excellent number written by local-musician-made-good Prince Phillip Mitchell. Young's presentation of the evidence is very convincing. Verdict for the plaintiff.

The stand-out cut is "Lost in the Blues," co-written by Young and Rusty Ends. Young's voice is at its best here, providing a soulful reading reminiscent of Louisville legend Steve Ferguson. The Frank Bugbee-penned "I Belong to Nobody" merits high songwriting marks, and Young's melancholy performance sells the argyles off it.

"Hollywood Smile" will bring a wistful grin to fans of the Mudcats who are aware it was written by the late Jim Rosen and band guitarist Rob Pickett. The "just like Bridget Bardot" smile is only slightly tarnished by recollection of a recent newspaper photo of the aging French actress looking more like Mae West than the youthful coquette we recall. But hey, we're reminiscing here.

Songwriter Tim Krekel's "You Got Me Burnin'" could well cause the listener to return the compliment; the Rusty Ends-penned "Thing Called Love" features frisky instrumental passages; and the mysterious bonus track is a fine example of the philosophy of "leave 'em wanting more."

The Joe Peebles cover photo freezes Young in a classic rocker-with-an-attitude pose, but where's the photo that we wanted to find on the inside - you know, the one of Young flashing that megawatt smile through a fabulous snowy-white beard?

It's pretty hard to find fault with this first solo album by Wayne Young. He has been a fixture on the local music scene for the proverbial "more years than . . . " and we salute him and this groovy release.