ACL Fest Friday Interviews
The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
3:15pm, WaMu stage
It's about time someone pays a little respect to old-school soul and funk, and the Dynamites are just the combo to bring it. On their latest, Kaboom! (Outta Sight), the longstanding Nashville outfit detonates Fifties/Sixties R&B as if it were Saturday night at the Apollo. Their secret weapon? Frontman Charles Walker.
"I got off of music for a while," says Walker, a relatively obscure Nashville native who spent most of the Sixties and Seventies in New York performing at the Apollo and Small's Paradise. Fronting Little Charles & the Sidewinders, he put out singles for Chess, Decca, and smaller labels. "Then in 1987, I got this call from somebody in England. I had put out a 45 on my own. I didn't even know that it was out over there. They called me and asked me if I would go over there and perform. When I got there, all my old records were still big."
Walker remained in Europe for the next five years. "It was beautiful," he recalls, "but I was doing cocktail stuff, just something to make a living."
It wasn't until earlier this decade, after a performance celebrating the soul compilation Night Train to Nashville, that Walker was approached by the Dynamites. Guitarist Bill Elder, aka Leo Black, wrote most of the fiery Kaboom!, but Walker warns to expect something else in person.
"You can only do so much on a record," he says. "The performance is a lot different. I can't stand doing songs exactly the same. I have to stretch out a little bit. That's part of my thing."