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Release Info: Weepin\' Willie - At Last, On Time
Known as 'Boston's Elder Statesman of the Blues' vocalist Weepin' Willie (Robinson) decided on a music career after getting hooked on the polished, urban blues style pioneered by the likes of B.B. King, Bobby Bland, and Joe Williams. Remarkably, it took Willie 50 years of working the clubs as an MC and singer before he got his first record deal (with APO) in 1998. The resulting album, At Last, on Time, was co-produced by Mighty Sam McClain and its release garnered Willie some belated recognition for his hard-earned life as a bluesman.
Weepin' Willie's long-awaited debut album (he was 72 when he recorded it) finally got made thanks to the efforts of Mighty Sam McClain, who co-produced the session, wrote or co-wrote five of the songs, and sang on three. Although Willie waited 50 years to record this album, At Last, on Time certainly doesn't sound like it was 50 years in the making; McClain rather hastily steers Willie's sound in more of a soul/R&B direction, which seems to have left Willie relying on the arrangements instead of his usual blues instincts. Still, Willie manages to find his stride here, especially on the slow blues numbers 'Dirty Old Man', 'They Call Me Weepin' Willie', and 'Can't Go Wrong Woman', the latter featuring Jimmy D. Lane on lead guitar. The other special guest on this album is Susan Tedeschi, whose overpowering vocal histrionics, unfortunately, tend to clash with Willie's subtler, dapper style of singing; furthermore, when McClain chimes in on 'Glory Train' and 'Let the Good Times Roll', Willie's voice all but gets lost in the threesome. Perhaps Willie didn't get as much room to stretch out as he would have liked, but his performance on 'At Last, On Time' nonetheless comes off as pretty solid.