Uncle Walt’s Band
The existence of this collection by Uncle Walt’s Band – Walter Hyatt, David Ball and Descamps Hood – proves that no matter how much music you listen to, there is always something new to discover. I was familiar with Hyatt, whose death in the ValuJet crash in 1996 spawned folks such as Lyle Lovett and Jimmie Dale Gilmore to record his songs in tribute, but I hadn’t encountered the Spartanburg, South Carolina band until now. To say I was blown away would be understatement. An acoustic trio that sounds as if David Grisman and The Beatles made an album, with a strong Texas songwriter influence? Sign me up!
This 21 cut CD brings together moments from the groups 4 records from the ’70s, starting with “Seat of Logic” from the 1974 album, Blame It On The Bossanova, where their trademark harmonies are front and center. Lyle Lovett is famous for saying “Those boys from Carolina they sure enough could sing”, and Lyle ain’t woofing. The mixture of their voices, aligning together in a sort of ’50s vocal jazz group style, combined with the rich acoustic guitars and bass, really sounds like nothing else you’ve ever heard. The three were great songwriters, with moments such as Ball’s “Don’t You Think I Feel It Too”, Hyatt’s “Deeper Than Love” or Hood’s “Walking Angel”, any of which would be the standout cut on any normal release, but these guys records were an embarrassment of riches.
Anthology features live moments such as their version of the standard “Sitting On Top of The World”, and “One Meatball”, made famous by Ry Cooder, and shows how the groups voices and playing fit together seamlessly, and what a loss it was when the group disbanded. You might not have heard of Uncle Walt’s Band, but once encountered, you’ll never forget their swinging, vocally complex tunes. Wonderful, wonderful.