With the best will in the world, I have no idea whether and to what extent Robert Rex Waller is known to the general public, although I can proudly report that he has occupied a fairly prominent place in the undersigned’s household for many years. . That’s because we not only spend a lot of time with music here, but mainly because over the years we noticed that we kept returning to good singers again and again.
Now Robert is pretty much a core figure in what must be one of the coolest bands of the past fifteen or twenty years. I’m talking about I See Hawks in LA, who have consistently scored high for ten albums, every time they come up with new work. Waller, together with guitarist Paul Lacques, bassist Paul Marshall and drummer Victoria Jacobs, is the beating heart of that band and it is no coincidence that both Lacques and Marshall are prominently present on this second album by Waller under his own name. Just like with his first solo album, he chose to record (almost) exclusively covers, but not just any covers. No, with the song choice he received help and assistance from the great Carla Olson, who also brought her voice and her guitar work, and from A&R man Saul Davis, who has been at Olson’s side for decades, but who also played with Percy Sledge, among others. , B.J. Thomas, Gene Clark, The Blues Band. A person with expertise and the Olson/Davis tandem chose a dozen songs from the immense pop and rock catalog of the past six decades, always with Robert’s wonderful voice in mind.
Just as someone like Raul Malo can sing just about anything, but still thrives in the high register, Waller’s voice is quite universal, but is, in terms of tonality, in the higher regions.
And so songs emerged that we know from The Walker Brothers (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”) about Gene Pitney (“There’s No Living Without Yur Loving”), Rank & File (“Amanda Ruth” – although the most people have mainly heard the version by The Everly Brothers), James Intveld (“A woman’s Touch”), Bruce Springsteen (“Tougher than the Rest”), Charlie Louvin, who once sang the title song soaringly into the charts, even if it was a piece written by Patsy Bruce, and Gene Clark himself (“Gypsy Ryder”, a song on which Olson played and sang on the original version). In addition, there are guest contributions from beautiful people such as the ubiquitous keyboardist Skip Edwards, bassist by the grace of God Gregg Sutton, angelic voice Gia Ciambotti and the French child of the gods Benjamin Lecourt, who has emigrated to L.A., who touches the skins throughout the entire album.
With such a line-up, such a song selection, such musicians and such a singer(s) you cannot possibly fail and Robert does not do that. Look, I tested it out repeatedly at places where they don’t mind me bringing my own CDs. It works, for sure, and we have a standard expression for such an achievement here in villa H.: “delicious stuff”!