Tony Wilson – I Like Your Style (Bearsville)
“I know why I like your style…” This is exactly how I felt when a friend of mine suggested me to get my hands on Tony Wilson‘s album (and eventually single) of the likes. Immediately taken by the emotion he spreads vocally speakin’. But also his arrangements, not to mention the themes he chose to express. From the relatively light ‘I Like Your Style’, probably his most well know cut as a solo artist. To more social / political subjects such as ‘New York City Life’, ‘The Politician (A Man Of Many Words)’ and ‘Legal Paper’…
I suppose a big majority have heard at least once about “WYSIWYG”. Or, differently said… “What You See Is What You Get!” Fair enough then, although havin’ you to get what you see can be of a nightmare at times. In other words, require a lot of time before being comprehensive. Such as properly resuming Tony Wilson‘s career for some reason, despite quite a consistant discography. On his own or with various groups.
The first traces of him bring us back to 1963. This with his contribution to The Souvenirs‘ cover version of Lou Christie‘s ‘How Many Teardrops’. Then, 2 years after with ‘I Keep Ringing My Baby’, the first of his four singles along with The Soul Brothers. The year 1967 seeing him starting a collaboration with Deep Purple future producer Derek Lawrence. And eventually sharing the duties with Larry Steele and Liza Fisher as Focus Three. Or as Derek Lawrence Statement along the latter + Albert Lee. He then met Errol Brown in Brixton in 1968 And together they recorded a cover version of The Plastic Ono Band’s Give Peace A Chance. This getting them to team up with RAK Records Mickie Most and soon after deliver their debut-single as Hot Chocolate.
Strangely enough, there seemed to be like a noticable difference between the group members’s concerns. Such as depicted on ‘You Could Have Been A Lady’. A cut that sees the man narrating the story of his girl who fails to turn for their date. And by the time Hot Chocolate came up with ‘Brother Louie’, one could already feel Wilson‘s concern in social / political matters which he further on expressed. Miles away from say ‘You Sexy Thing’. And even more when delivering his debut-album – ‘I Like Your Style’ – on Bearsville back in 1976 after he left Hot Chocolate. Meanwhile dropping touching pieces of music such as ‘New York City Life’ (in the vein of Curtis Mayfield ‘Freddie’s Dead’. But also ‘The Politician (A Man Of Many Words)’ ‘Legal Paper’ and the album’s title cut.
Tony Wilson delivered its follow up – ‘Catch One’ – in 1979. Then he came back 9 years later. Thus delivering his final album by the likes of ‘Walking The Highwire’ on Cypress Records.