JUNE REVIEW – CHARLIE EARLE LIVE @ THE RED DOG – ALBUM RELEASE.
Charlie Earle moved from Toronto to Peterborough where she performed as a vocalist as well as a bartender at the city’s most prestigious and quaint live music hot spot, The Garnet. As a musician, she was fondly known for her hypnotic voice and engaging stage energy. She vocally expressed perfection with in-depth similarities to Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and immediately collected an extremely large fan base. Her vocal stance was profound and authoritative, one to always remember. Upon the devastating news of her passing, The Weber Brothers, Charlie’s family, friends, and fellow musicians got involved in 1 of the most passionate movements I have ever heard. It brought me to tears. The exuberant amount of compassion and love for 1 young and spirited lady, poured out from such loving, dedicated & creative like-minded musical souls. Thus proving that 1 person’s efforts can change the lives of many to which Charlie did just that. The Weber Brothers talked with Charlie’s family, and all decided that the main thing was to get her album out there, shared and heard. Charlie’s voice on these marvelous 18 tracks truly brings a lot of light and love and this extravagant album is free of charge, however, if anyone would like to purchase it you can and all donations go to Charlie’s family, you can do so at the Bandcamp link https://charlieearle1.bandcamp.com/album/charlie-earle-live-at-the-red-do which includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, but it’s not mandatory, however, appreciated in honor of Charlie’s memory. The Weber Brothers hosted the online album release of her last Historic Red Dog performance on what would have been her 34th birthday on April 16th, 2020. 1000’s of fans tuned into the Covid-19 isolation event during the lockdown. While listening to this recording for the 1st time, I was stunned as she replicated with utter precision, a stellar version, and mind-blowing Baby Please Don’t Go (Rose Mitchell) followed by Baby I Love You (Ronnie Shannon). She nailed a rendition of Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me which led right into her smokey cover of Ike & Tina Turner’s I Idolize You. The applause was loud and proud, with my eyes closed, I could actually feel her voice in my heart. The incredible sounds of the full and richly rounded award-winning musicians brought an even deeper essence of Charlie’s persona. This collaboration of musical gifts brought out many emotions in me as I am sure they did for you also. I was happy to hear so many of my friends came out to perform in support of Charlie’s gift and her dream, I am sure she is smiling down with a thumb up approval of this special album you all helped create and beautifully enhance. This incredible backup band features the creme de la creme artists like guitarists: Ryan Weber, Sam Weber, Emily Burgess & Brandon Humphrey, along with bass experts Ryan Weber, Sam Weber, and Rob Foreman, adding in the flavor of Rico Browne on piano with organist Rob Phillips, & Shai ‘Cookie’ Peer, including drummers Marcus Browne and Matt Greco with Al Black on the harp, Blending in the Saskia Tompkins on string arrangements by Keith Whiteduck, & Saskia Tompkins, as well Jim Usher, Steve McCracken, Rob Roy & Greg Weichel on the horn arrangements by Keith Whiteduck, & Jim Usher. Mingling in vocalists Cheyenne Buck, Nathan Miller, Hillary DuMoulin, Meisha Browne, Caitlin O’Connor, Rico Browne, & The Weber Brothers, totally melding nicely with Charlie’s vocal prowess. I was thoroughly moved by her an original, The Hulk Song, as she added just as much passion as she put into remaking the evening covers her own. There were plenty of goosebumps as my senses were elated! This 2 set performance was electrifying but, in my eye, it was way too short, as I could have indulged all night long. She belted a proficient Wynona Carr’s Please Mr. Jailer right into the compelling Esther Phillips tune Try Me. Then, a change of pace induced as Ryan Weber stated, “this is for the dancers out there’… they turned the room inside out like no other with Little Marie Allen’s Humdinger. The selection Charlie chose to close the 1st set with lit the stage ablaze with charisma on the splendid version of Jalacy “Screamin Jay” Hawkins I Put A Spell On You, allowing her voice to intoxicate you as she engaged with 1 of many enthralling tunes to come.
Doctor Feelgood, an Aretha Franklin piece strolled them into the 2nd set of perfection, followed up with the stupendous stunner, Etta James’s Somethings Got A Hold Of Me. Charlie was overwhelmed by the spirit in the audience saying, “you are a wonderful crowd, I Just Want to Make Love To You.” She further mentioned, “you are all awesome, you make me feel really good.” I loved how she made each hit her own flavor especially the sentimental Brenda Lee’s I’m Sorry. The next piece, Tainted Love really educated me, it was an old blues song written by Gloria Jones back in 1964….and it wasn’t the version I knew growing up in the 80s by Soft Cell, all I could muster was holy shit….this was brilliant. Charlie said, “I love this song …it’s new for me…you are the best crowd ever…you make me cry,” as she burst into Cold Little Heart by Michael Kiwanuka. I was fascinated, what a powerful moment in time. She then announced she had 2 more songs as she dove deep into a very moving I’d Rather Go Blind by Etta James ending with The Ronettes Be My Baby Now which the crowd went berzerk with loud applause. Charlie full of emotion stated, “
This next section I felt was imperative to include, to express pertinent details about our Peterborough songbird and how this album came to be. Therefore, I quoted from Charlie Earle’s Bandcamp, the very open and honest words of her dear friend, collaborator, and host of this fabulous recording release, Ryan Weber.
“A Word about the album…The performance of Charlie Earle heard here was recorded on July 18th, 2019 at the Historic Red Dog in Peterborough, ON. Her performance was a part of the WE Thursday Concert Series, a weekly event showcasing some of our favorite artists, and Charlie was surely one of those. The concept of the series was stripped down acoustic evenings so backing Charlie this night, was brother Sam Weber on acoustic guitar, Rico Browne on piano and myself, Ryan Weber on upright bass and acoustic guitar. It was a different style I think than Charlie was used to when singing these songs, with such sparse instrumentation behind her and I remember her saying she was really nervous beforehand, but, as with any other time I saw her perform, she absolutely scorched the place. She was given not a standing ovation but a JUMPING one. Everyone was blown away by the power and passion of this supreme vocalist because she was nothing short of that. We were all riding a high afterward, everybody so jazzed upon such a stupendous evening, Charlie was smiling ear to ear and laughing that laugh of hers as we packed up the night. She knew what a great night she had just delivered, as did everyone else who was there. Sometime, the next day, Charlie Earle passed away, under still unexplained circumstances. A word about the recording
So sit back, close your eyes and turn it UP, take the beautiful ride and picture this 5 ft powerhouse with diamond eyes up there giving us a glimpse of heaven.
The Weber Brothers
Charlie, your scorching soulful stratospheric grit. mixed with your warm bluesy infused sexy growl, made for a true one-of-a-kind delivery, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your energetic and spirited stage presence. Your last performance and album ‘Live At The Red Dog’ will resonate as a profound and everlasting masterpiece to last a lifetime in our hearts, definitely your most compelling expression! ~ Deb Draper.