Sha La Das, The - Love in the Wind - New LP
"W.C. Schalda is a fascinating example of an artist who has been given a second chance at a successful career. In the early '60s, Schalda (then known as Billy Schalda) was part of a doo wop group named the Montereys, who cut a pair of singles, one of which, "Step Right Up" b/w "Face in the Crowd," would fetch three-figure prices from vocal group collectors decades after the fact. Parenthood and other grown-up responsibilities led to Schalda giving up music as a career, but his three sons picked up the music bug from their dad and ended up working with acts like Charles Bradley & the Extraordinaires, Paul & the Tall Trees, and the Budos Band. Now W.C. Schalda and his sons Paul Schalda, Carmine Schalda, and William Schalda, Jr. have formed a vocal group known as the Sha La Das, with Dad on lead vocals, and they've stepped forward with their first album, 2018's Love in the Wind. There's certainly a doo wop slant to the quartet's harmonies, as one might expect, but one can also hear the strong influence of '60s and '70s soul acts like the Dramatics and the Stylistics. Just as importantly, producer Tommy "TNT" Brenneck has dressed these songs up with arrangements that are often cool and moody, soulful but with an undertow that's not afraid to let the emotional shadows of these tunes show. The tunes (most written by W.C., often in tandem with Brenneck) run from the upbeat rock & roll of "Do What" and the gentle romantic doo wop of the title cut to the polished soul of "Just for a Minute" and the psychedelic pop shadings of "Summer Breeze," and while this music frequently harks back to the mood and approach of another era, the performances' freshness and understated passion are entirely contemporary. And few songs balance heartache and the unglamorous realities of a musician's life as well as "Okay My Love," and it would take someone with W.C.'s years of experience to tell this tale so well. Love in the Wind demonstrates that W.C. Schalda is a talent who has gone unrecognized for too long, and that his sons learned their lessons well from their father; if you have a taste for classic harmonies and vintage R&B, give this a try."