Living Blues (pp.54-55) - "Old-school soulsters and southern-soul modernists alike should relish this offering from a major contemporary soul-blues artist."
Old-fashioned soul singer Willie Clayton may be living in a time warp in which the 1960s never ended, but he really occupies a timeless place in which a man is perpetually pleading with a woman either to give him a chance or not to leave him. The bluesy R&B music, with its punchy horns and funky beats, might have been made in the Stax studio in the `60s or the Hi studio in the `70s, but what matters is Clayton's expressive tenor, full of groans and wails, with asides added to the lyrics as the singer reminds the listener that "A Woman Needs to Be Loved," asks his loved one to "Show Me," and tells her it "Feels Like Love to Me." He is even more emphatic, however, when things are not going well, as on the title song, its long name being what his departing paramour says to him, and on the album's seven-minute tour de force, "Stay," which concludes with a female voice telling him it's over. Occasionally, Clayton works variations on his loverman themes, sometimes to discuss romantic complications. In "How Do You Love Two," he is asking his girlfriend to dump her other boyfriend, while "Cheating in the Day Light" (a duet with Swamp Dogg) explores the same issue from another point of view. And then there's the provocative "One Night Stand," with its chorus, "My baby loves a one-night stand/And so do all the fellas in my band." Maybe it's better not to think too much about that one. In any case, Willie Clayton is a man with love on his mind, and in such circumstances, the calendar isn't really important. ~ William Ruhlmann