The reclusive Charles was little known for his own recordings but wrote big hits for Bill Haley and the Comets, Fats Domino and Clarence "Frogman" Henry. However, McNally came to Charles through the music of The Band, who so admired Charles' music that they recorded his self-titled album at their studio in Woodstock and asked him to appear in the band's farewell concert and movie, "The Last Waltz."
Prior to his death in 2010, McNally had Charles' blessing and input on the album that highlights the songwriting she loves so much. Dr. John, known as Mac Rebennack to his mama, was co-conspirator on the album and it also features guest performances by Derek Trucks, Will Sexton, Luther Dickinson and Vince Gill.
All three songs performed in this session are from the album "Small Town Talk," which is named from a song Charles co-wrote with Rick Danko, and though Charles' early music was the essence of early rock and roll, the chord structures are universal and are as country as Bob's Sausage in McNally's versions.
"Love in the Worst Degree" is a swampy country rocker that would sound at home on any Bonnie Raitt album.
"Can't Pin a Color" is a snappy two-step number that would be right at home on a sawdusted dance floor in a joint lighted by Lone Star neon.
"I Don't Want to Know" shows that Charles knew how to write the slower numbers that might be heard just before closing time, when last chance dances might lead to other encounters. And McNally and her band show they know what to do with those songs too, coaxing out all the pain, loneliness and desperation that great country music should convey.