A Man Needs To Be Told – The Charlatans

As I alluded to in yesterday’s Primal Scream post, the Charlatans have reinvented themselves several times since the early Manchester Indie Days. They’ve been Pop, Rock, Dance, Soul and Country in their time. they’ve never been bad though. So.. You know. Fair play La.

This track catches them in their Tom Baker period. Several incarnations in and hitting on a classic style. A Man Needs To Be Told is a wonderful example of some blue eyed soul that takes in everything from David Bowie’s little China Girl to the collected works of the Buckley’s younger and elder. If that were not enough, there’s a bit of smooth funk history thrown in too. There are traces of Isaac Hayes and Barry White in Tim Burgess delivery.

As I heard a huge bouncer from the West Indies genuinely say at a Charlatans show some time around 1999 “this skinny white boy, all black tonight!”. I’m not making that up. It was a hell of a show.

You might think the laid back groove and softly softly approach on the vocals is something other than an understanding that the real class of this chosen art form comes from guys in velvet suits and bow ties. Like that’s some sort of selling out. It’s not. It’s as valid a choice as double denim, a mohawk or full goth regalia.

The band are a groove monster of Mothra capabilities on any given night. They’re a monster caged for this track. That’s one of the elements that makes A Man Needs To Be Told so impressive.  The Charlatans can storm any barn of any size. To see them slink around the lounge like they’re waiting for Elwood to come tell them he’s ‘getting the band back together’ is an wonderful thing.

Restraint. It’s under rated.

If you don’t know this band and you like this track. Check out the rest of the Wonderland album. if you should stray from that advice, don’t be surprised if One to Another or Sproston Green really drag you round the parking lot.

If you do know The Charlatans you might not know every incarnation they’ve been through. you could have tuned out around Melting Pot and think you have an fully rounded idea what they’re about. They’ve kept digging the crates, just like you and I.

They’re touring again this year. These days you get everything from Gram Parsons to Liam Gallagher when you go and see the Charlies.

That’s a proper rock and roll band right there.

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