The Chris Watson Band

The Chris Watson Band
Pleasure and Pain

Gator Music

By Lady K
November 2012

Chris Watson, from Denton, Texas, says he makes “music for the American working man because that’s what I am, and that’s who I care about.” The working men and/or women who love blues music, will love what Chris Watson is doing in their name. Chris Watson (songwriter, guitar, lead vocals) is joined on this CD by Billy Acord, Chris Gipson (bass); Jon Zoog, Jason Thomas (drums); Scott Morris, Eric Scortia (keyboards); Justin Barbee (trumpet); Jeff Dazey (sax); and Kristin Major (backup vocals).

Chris Watson’s picture on the CD cover would lead one to believe that he much younger than he actually is (believe he’s now in his early 20s); Lady K was amazed that the sophisticated guitar playing and vocals, the music and lyrics of his original tunes are the work of such a young guy. Love his guitar!!!!!! Most of the tunes on this CD are written by Chris Watson, with a few exceptions: Sean Costello’s “Hard Luck Woman” and an impressively funky/jazzy version of Bobby Womack’s “Check it Out.” The traditional gospel “Going Home” includes choir-like vocal back-up, and meaningful lyrics: “Soon I will be done with the trouble in this world, I’m going home to live with God. No more weepin and wailin ... going home ... going home ...” Lady K loved Chris’ voice on this one, because it’s imbued with a “tremble-y” quality, but there’s nothing “tremble-y” about what he does with his guitar here!!!

“Heart on my Sleeve” is the opening track on the CD and proves that Watson can also write a little funk into his blues music. “I wear my heart on my sleeve, on display for you to see – you can look but just don’t touch, unless you do it tenderly. You might think you can change me, but that’s just a waste of time.” The up-tempo, rocking electric guitar of “Untrue” is a prime example of Chris Watson’s talent as a musician, as he sings a tune of betrayal: “I followed you last night just to see where you were going. I saw you with him without you even knowing. You better believe that I had a talk with him - you said it was one time; he said it was now and then. Well, I meant what I said and I said what I meant. Leaving you crying was heaven-sent.”

The title tune, “Pleasure and Pain,” contains more of Chris’ uptempo heavy-duty guitar, and some nicely subtle organ back-up. “ I’m in a bad way baby, ‘cause I just can’t put you down. Guess I’m just a glutton for punishment and my heart is used to being sore, but I’ll be back again tomorrow and let you mistreat me forever more. I’m stuck here in this prison, filled with pleasure and pain.”

Lady K’s favorite tune is the slow, somber love song “Heartache” because of the kick-ass guitar solo mid-tune and the broken-hearted bravado of the lyrics: “When you left me, I was confused / I gave you my love, but it went unused. I’ll carry on. Lord, I won’t cry. I will be gone in the blink of an eye. Don’t you worry or think about me, I’ll be fine – just you wait and see.”

“She took our pillows, sheets and comforter off our bed; she said I don’t know where you been, but I hope to God I never see you again. She turned around and said so long – that was the happiest day of my life. Nobody here to give me the blues – she was sure that I couldn’t go on . . .” “Happiest Day of My Life” proves that revenge can be sweet. There’s a whole lotta mid-tempo, sexy guitar going on in “She’s Wild”: “She’s got a butterfly tattoo on the small of her back, driving all the boys wild. She likes to play her men against themselves, spending all their money, wishing they were somebody else.”

“Wanted Man” is a slow blues tune, with some huge rocking guitar and keyboard. And, as they do, this bad boy is proclaiming it was all a misunderstanding. “I’m a wanted man – wanted for all the bad things that I’ve done – I done lied and I done stole / I used to be your backdoor man, stealing love whenever I could / Now I’m a wanted man / Lord have mercy I’ve been misunderstood.” Uh-huh . . .

Watson’s guitar playing and writing and the fact that he’s got some fantastic musicians with him, all point to a long future with the potential for years of good blues music to come.

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