Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Sada (Pointblank Records)

Longtime Wolfman fans, those familiar with his work with Johnny Adams, Lee Dorsey and Irma Thomas, shouldn’t be surprised that his fifth album and major label debut is the best yet, a wonderful mix of soul, R&B, and blue-tinged ballads. Unlike most modern blues discs that rely heavily on extended guitar-star posturing, this disc relies on the songs and Washington’s ever-soulful vocals. This is not to imply, however, that the Wolfman doesn’t play his patented velvety-smooth blues guitar lines. He does, and does so very tastefully. All those thrash blues players could learn something from the Wolfman’s short but sweet solo on the opener, “I’ll Be Good.” Throughout, the Wolfman teases and plays tasty, hide-and-seek little fills that leave you wanting more. I especially like his scatting on “Nothing Left To Be Desired,” before the disc rocks out with “What’s It Gonna Take.” The highlight of this recording is Wolfman’s superb reading of Tyrone Davis’ “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.” All in all, this disc stands with Robert Wild’s Black Top disc as the year’s best R&B offering so far.