Soul and R&B legend Charlie Wilson delivered a delightful, career-spanning set in the latest installment of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series.
Wilson, a host of musicians, and a cadre of backup vocalists squeezed into the NPR offices for the performance, which opened an apt fitting introduction: “Charlie, Last Name Wilson,” the beatific title-track from Wilson’s 2005 album. After that, Wilson dipped into his deep catalog of classics and performed “Computer Love,” the 1986 single he made with Dayton funk greats Zapp and singer Shirley Murdock.
More from Rolling Stone
After that, Wilson performed “There Goes My Baby” from 2008’s Uncle Charlie, followed by an emotional rendition of “I’m Blessed” from 2017’s In It to Win It. Leaning into the latter song’s gospel vibes, the tune ended with an extended vamp and Wilson preaching to the “Tiny Desk Church” about about his life and career, his battles with addiction and 28 years of sobriety.
Wilson closed out his set with two songs from his Gap Band days (with his verse on the remix of Fetty Wap’s 2022 song “Sweet Yams” sandwiched in between). First, he played “Yearning For Your Love” from the group’s 1980 LP The Gap Band III, then closed the show with “Outstanding” from 1982’s The Gap Band IV.
It’s been over six years since Wilson released his last album, In It to Win It, though he’s stayed plenty busy in the interim. Earlier this year, he partnered with Don Toliver for “No Phony Love,” while last year he dropped a pair of singles: “No Stoppin’ Us” featuring K-Ci Hailey, and “All of My Love” featuring Smokey Robinson.
Best of Rolling Stone