Charlie Wilson Kicks Off Black Music Month With A Stroll Through His Catalog For NPR Music’s ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ Series

Photo Credit: NPR Music/YouTube

It’s Black Music Month y’all! We’re looking forward to celebrating all month long and so is NPR Music. Their signature Tiny Desk Concert series will feature an array of beloved Black artists the entire month of June and their opening in a big way with legendary vocalist Charlie Wilson.

Uncle Charlie has been a staple of R&B ever since he stepped on the scene with The Gap Band back in the ’70s. He makes sure we all know it with a setlist that features his signature songs throughout the years. He begins the performance by putting respect on his name with “Charlie, Last Name Wilson” to set the mood. The smoothed-out arrangement is courtesy of an absolutely massive band (including five backup singers, which might be a Tiny Desk record) and Charlie’s own timeless voice, which is in top form for the entire performance.

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From there, he reminds us that he’s been doing this collaboration thing from jump with “Computer Love,” the 1986 Zapp hit on which his voice was featured, before hitting us with the romantic classic “There Goes My Baby.” The singer then takes a moment to testify about where he’s come from with “I’m Blessed,” which ends in a sanctified preaching moment that soon becomes a Holy Ghost shouting session.

After taking the crowd to church, he takes us back to his Gap Band days with the timeless ballad “Yearning For Your Love.” The song is always a crowd pleaser and this occasion doesn’t disappoint. It also gives him a chance to show the band some love and introduce them to the audience before getting into some recent history with “Sweet Yamz.” The Fetty Wap track (which famously samples Devin Morrison and Masego’s “Yamz”) only gets a brief showing, though, as he soon launches into “Outstanding” to end his set. The Gap Band track is a sweet closer, and he even remixes the lyrics to thank the folks at Tiny Desk for having him before ending things with a party-starting call and response.

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Charlie Wilson is just the beginning of NPR Music’s Black Music Month programming, with acts like Babyface, Tank, Ambré, Adam Blackstone and more lined up in the coming weeks. So, basically, music lovers are going to be eating good this June. Dig into the first course by watching Uncle Charlie slay his performance below.

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