Danny & The Champions Of The World
Here come Danny & The Champions Of The World writing themselves large, giving themselves the space, and taking the time, to deliver a magnum opus. With Brilliant Light Danny Wilson has made his All Things Must Pass – a big record of hit after hit stretching over two albums plus a further bonus set of instrumentals. He’s allowed both himself and his band the absolute freedom to explore, experiment, and collaborate, and they’ve grabbed it with both hands. Hidden away somewhere in this diverse collection you’ll find the question “can we release ourselves back into the brilliant light?”. For Danny the brilliant light is creativity, but more than that it’s collaborative creativity, and the process of birthing these songs, both by design and then serendipity, has been to maximise the creative potential of all The Champs.
The two previous Champs collections Stay True (2013) and What Kind Of Love (2015) were recorded in intensive ten day stints. The songs written and rehearsed, the musicians gathered in North London at bassist Chris Clarke’s Reservoir Studios and tracked everything at one fell swoop. This time around Danny wanted something different allowing an all-encompassing view of what the band was capable of. They started going into Reservoir once a month, recording what they had live, without too much reflection or correction, and then putting those results in a box and leaving them be. Every month saw a scramble to find songs to record requiring an encouragement to every band member to bring something to the table. Writing with guitarist Paul Lush for What Kind Of Love had proved liberating to Danny who’d rarely co-composed since writing with brother Julian for his previous band Grand Drive. It was exciting and rejuvenating. Scary too but reawakening, and so he’d repeatedly be asking, “have you got an idea for a song?” and as the months passed and the cache grew more things were tried; different configurations, other collaborators, and along the way a cluster of instrumentals arrived too.
The Champs are understandably proud of what they’ve achieved. Chris Clarke says outright it’s the best record this line-up has come up with so far, while for Danny it’s “a bit like taking a peek into somebody’s house; there’s great stuff that immediately grabs your attention, and then there’s other stuff and you start out thinking it might be a bit mundane but as the whole picture takes shape it proves to be incredibly beautiful”. That’s typical Danny Wilson, a brave stab at modesty but far too honest to sell himself short. He and his band are already much loved; for their whole-hearted openness, their democracy, and their sheer joy in what they do. They’re going to be loved too for this record. Very soon Brilliant Light will be the soundtrack to an awful lot of people’s lives, and that is no small achievement.