I listen to a lot of music. And I write about it quite a bit. Since I genuinely like all of the music I write about, one challenge I have is finding new ways to get across how good I think something is, without falling on cliches or things I’ve said a lot. When I first listened to The Dynamites’ latest album, Burn it Down, I quickly realized I had a problem. How do I express what I felt about their music? How can I get across how good the songwriting is, how tight the arrangements and playing are, and how charismatic their frontman Charles Walker is, without sounding hyperbolic? I put a lot of thought into it, and all I can come up with is this: Not only do I think The Dynamites are amazing, but I can’t imagine any music lover who would disagree.
Charles Walker isn’t exactly a newcomer to the music business. He opened for James Brown at the Apollo Theater in the 60s. He recorded for Chess and Decca Records. But he never really found the right fit of music and musicians until he came across songwriter and arranger Bill Elder. Elder writes songs that fit Walker perfectly, and his arrangements hearken back to the days when funk and soul were new and fresh. The two, along with the rest of The Dynamites, make music that’s vibrant and new, but genuinely grounded in classic traditions.
I was recently in charge of music for a party, and one of the guests requested “booty shaking music”. If only I had known about The Dynamites, booties would have been shaken. This shit is off the hook.
“If I Had Known”
Walker’s vocal here makes Al Green sound awkward. He grabs hold of the song just owns it. It’s hard to believe this wasn’t recorded in about 1968.
“Talkin’ ’bout You”, live
“Can You Feel It?”, live