As a band in the last number of years, Danny Wilson and his travelling camaraderie have toured relentlessly and grown in confidence, style, sass and soul. With tunes penned in tour vans, in hotel rooms or on soundcheck stages, ‘What Kind of Love’ comes hot on the heels of last year’s live album but sounds far from rushed.
Conversely, it’s a record that exudes a relaxed atmosphere. Perhaps the road is where The Champs feel most at home. Their 2013 release ‘Stay True’ was essentially recorded as played live and a few tracks on ‘What Kind of Love’ remain loyal to that formula. ‘It’ll Be Alright in the End’ is full of hope and guitar hooks. We’d pen that one in between ‘That Old Space Rocket’ and ’Darlin’ Won’t You Come In From The Cold’ in live sets, had we any say in the matter.
There’s a change of dynamic for the most part on this record, at it’s most laid back and soulful there are glimpses of Van Morrison, particularly from those live 1970s records with the Caledonia Orchestra. ‘Sound of a Train’ and the album’s title track sound as Celtic and our protagonists red beard.
For a redhead though, Wilson’s sure got soul. ‘Can I Change My Mind’ blasts in halfway through the record like a Motown pop classic, handclaps and everything. From the opening track though the brass has kicked in like an old Dexy’s record. Comparisons to Springsteen in terms of songwriting style and delivery have followed Danny and the Champions of the World through their previous records but if we’re sticking loyally to this soulful redhead thing, then on ‘What Kind of Love’ we’re in that territory where Brian Fallon nails a cover of something like ‘Once Upon A Time’ by Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise.
At worst, you could say that Wilson sounds a little Rod Stewart in places. The good Rod Stewart, that is. Rod Stewart who partied hard with Ronnie Wood and won over a generation of fans with that melding of country, blues and soul. In 2015, Danny and the Champions of the World look to be aiming for similar results and when these songs return to the tour vans, hotel rooms and stages on which they were born, you can expect to dance, sing along and have your heart broken a million ways by that damned beautiful lap-steel.