Wayne Young
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Wayne Young

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Once upon a time an unconventional kind of marriage took place right here in America. It was a musical marriage that involved two styles of music and a lot of people. The older style was called the blues while the younger style was called rock 'n' roll. On this EP of blues-rock, the happy marriage continues, as we're treated to just a few samples of this blissful couple, Wayne Young style. And Young is a man who witnessed first hand the aforementioned marriage and helps keep it together and solid.

The titles here are "Hard Luck Harry", "Rocn 'n Roll Is The Answer", "Borrwed Time" and "I Found A New Love". At least two of those are included in Young's "signature set", listed at his web site. All four songs are sure to fill any dance floor and provide the score for a good time, whether at home or at a Wayne Young & The Youngsters' gig.

Remember that this EP is a sonic drop in Young's keg of sound; an appetizer for the smorgasbord of rocking blues the man plays. At just under 15 minutes, it's excellent for brief interludes if you're short on time. I encourage you to find out more about this seasoned road warrior at www.wayneyoungonline.com. - Louisville Music News - David Lilly - Oct. 2002


Recently, I dropped by Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar on Main Street to hear some live music. When I got there at set-up time the place was filled to capacity with a diverse crowd, from aging hippies to leather-clad bikers to pretty young things dressed in next to nothing and wearing it extremely well. The smoke was thick, the drinks plentiful, and the taped blues riffs blaring over the sound system were loud enough to drown out all rational thought.

This is going to be a tough crowd for a band to get the attention of, much less win over, I thought as I watched members of a band scheduled to entertain that evening set up their instruments onstage. They were an unlikely seeming bunch, looking more like successful businesspeople than blues-rockers. As they went through their sound check, tapping microphones and plugging in keyboards, thumping the drums and tuning guitar strings, I scanned the room and noted that everyone seemed more interested in drinking large quantities of beer and checking one another out than in listening to Wayne Young and the Youngsters, a local band fronted by a guy a musician friend of mine nicknamed the “King of Blue-Eyed Soul.”

Just then I saw Young, whose bearded good looks and well-coiffed hair give him the appearance of a gracefully aging movie star, walk in the front door with a guitar and join the rest of the band. True, he definitely had a bit of the successful businessperson look going on. But there was something more, too, in the way he smiled, the confident way he slung the guitar around his neck, the way he ran though a practice riff, that made me sit up and take notice.

As the house lights dimmed into darkness and the stage lights came up, Young stepped to the mike and growled out in a voice heavy with experience:

Then I got this feelin’, felt this power
Could this be religion speaking through the rhythm?
. . . Rock ’n’ roll is the answer . . .

Oh, yeah, I thought, this guy’s the real thing. He began knocking out guitar riffs that would make Eric Clapton feel at home, and his band — Jim Willis on keyboards and vocals, Mike Brody on keyboards and harmonica, Gary Underwood on drums, Bennie Handcock on bass and Mary Pat Willis on backing vocals — responded to the driving force of Young’s lead in a perfect counterpoint of bluesy rock. Young smiled at the audience as if he knew he had us right where he wanted us, and I knew I was hooked for the night.

Young and his Youngsters are like a very, very good bourbon: strong, rough and sharp to the taste initially, then effortlessly moving to a silky, smoky aftertaste that leaves you craving more.

“Everyone in the band is like me, a little bit older and more experienced, with a full-time job and responsibilities,” the 60-year-old Young told me later. “These people don’t need to play; they play for the sheer love of the music. And that makes for a great band.”

So how, I wondered, does a middle-class white boy from Louisville grow up to get a group of musicians like that to work with him? What roads had he been down to make heartache sound that good?

According to Young, it all started with Chet Atkins and B.B. King. “I grew up listening to the local radio stations in Louisville,” he says, “and back then, in the early 1950s, it was all country, with artists like Hank Williams and Chet Atkins.” Liking what he heard of Atkins’ guitar work, Young tried to learn guitar at around 11 or 12, but was told by his guitar teacher that he had no “ear” and would never master the instrument.

“Then a buddy of mine picked up a record of B.B. King’s, Singin’ the Blues (1957), and came over and said, ‘You’ve got to listen to this,’” Young recalls. “That record hit me like a ton of bricks. After that, the guitar came easily to me. I realized that it wasn’t that I couldn’t play, but that I’d been waiting for the blues and rock ’n’ roll to come along — music with a strong back beat and rhythm.”

By age 15 he was touring with such local bands as The Carnations, The Trindells, and Cosmo and the Counts. In the 1960s, he joined the popular Louisville band Soul, Inc., and with hits like “I Belong to Nobody” and “Midnight Hour,” joined Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars for two cross-country tours.

“We were opening for artists like Bo Diddley, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and The Byrds,” says Young. “It was an amazing time. I loved every minute of it.”

“When Wayne and I would get onstage together there was just this spark between us,” says Marvin Maxwell Sr., former drummer for Soul, Inc. and founder of Mom’s Music in Louisville. “He would have a certain rhythm on the guitar that I would match on the drums, and it was like we were three people up there, not just two. We could feel it, and the audience could feel it. It’s why I’ve always loved to play with him. We are about as tight as two people can be.”

In the early 1970s, Young left Soul, Inc. to join the blues band The Heavyweights, and a few years later formed a rock cove - Louisville Magazine - Victoria Moon - May 2003


"Charcoal Soul" would be notable simply as the first solo album from one of Louisville's seminal rock 'n' rollers, but it boasts an added kick.

Wayne Young has been part of the Louisville scene almost from day one, establishing himself as a muscular guitar player in bands suchs a Soul, Inc. and Midnight Special, so his moment in the spotlight is long overdue. The kick is this" Young has made the kind of record you rarely hear anymore - a Southern soul album inspired by the tradition of Eddie Hinton, Otis Redding, and Booker T. & the MG's.

The songs groove, the horns punch holes in the walls and Young wastes nary a note while proving he's still one of the area's finest guitarists. Recorded locally at Al Fresco's Place an dproduced with obvious affection by soul afficionado Scott Mullins, the album captures the Muscle Shoals grit.

Young and Mullins picked a group of songs that fit Young nicely, and the bst of them hold their own on any soul mix tape. Hinton's "Shining Love" is textbook Memphis, for example, from its killer horn arrangement to David Barickman's piano and organ fills. Two songs from the underrated Syl Johnson, "Watch What You're Doing!" and "Make Me Leave Home," capture the same vibe.

Another underrated writer, Louisville's Rusty Ends, contributes his hurting slow-burn, "Midnight Screams," along with "Thing Called Love" and a couple of co-writes with young. Ends and his band also back Young alongside a long list of Louisville musician's, including Tanita Gaines, Tim Krekel, Joey Gillispie, and Mike Murphy.

A few songs don't hold up, either because they don't fit the album's groove or just aren't that good, and Young's voice sometimes has trouble in the higher registers. But "Charcoal Soul" is a strong effort that shames most recent releases from Malaco Records, which claims to be our last source for authentic soul power. Not yet it isn't. - Courier Journal


Discography

Charcoal - 12 Track CD - 2001
Young Again - 4 Track CD - 2002

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Louisville Guitar artist Wayne Young knows what rock and soul is all about.

He has wowed fans throughout the country since the 60's with his gritty vocals and high energy stage shows. With his band, the Youngsters, behind him, he gets everyone on their feet with familiar rock hits and soulful R&B classics.

While his guitar playing rivals the finest, his tribute to Eric Clapton has become a fan favorite.

Young started his music career in the late 1950s with the Carnations, and
in the 1960s joined Soul, Inc. for two tours with the "Dick Clark Caravan of Stars" and nights opening for Bo Diddley, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and The Byrds. In the 1970s and 1980s, Young began to hone his blues licks with The Heavyweights and later toured extensively with his own group, Midnight Special. In the Nineties, he created and performed the popular Slow Hand, and Eric Clapton tribute show, and reunited with his Soul, Inc. band mates to put out a CD under the name The Shufflin' Granddads.

In 2001, under the ear X-tacy label, Wayne released "Charcoal Soul", a powerhouse of soul, R&B, and rock sounds from regional writers. Wayne's shows feature many of the selections from this latest CD, including a re-make of the 60's hit, familiar to Louisville fans, "I Belong to Nobody", a signature of Wayne's from his early days.

Wayne is supported by the Youngsters, a versatile and accomplished group of pros, with years of seasoned performance. Together they create the foundation for the show and Wayne's gifted guitar styles.

The Younsters offer a variety of show sets featuring the sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bob Seger, Motown and Detroit R&B. Wayne's tribute to Eric Clapton highlights the best of Clapton music through the decades from the ballads to commanding and ripping guitar leads.

Friends and fans can keep in touch with Wayne and the Youngsters through their web site located at http://www.wayneyoungonline.com. Selected songs, band member bios, and performance updates, as well as fun links to other musical interest destinations can be found on the site.