Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Chuck Mills - Thank You - 2002 - Chaz Charm Records

Excellence from 2002. Chuck is a guitarist-vocalist of the highest order and I was immediately grabbed by this CD when I heard the SUPERB single "Whisper In My Ear" played on the radio. This song, a brilliant 80s styled laid back jogger, grabbed my ears. In fact, the opening bars of the track with Chuck’s vocals had me thinking it was an unreleased Ali-Ollie Woodson song! Apart from that element in the vocals I can hear a prominence of Ernie Isley’s vocal talents too, as well as the obvious guitar influence of the great man. If you do not own Ernie’s 1990 Elektra set "High Wire" album, then please check it out. Furthermore, I can hear the melodies of Isley, Jasper, Isley on this album too, a la their "Different Drummer" period, mainly in the chorus and keyboards of the excellent "Whisper In My Ear" and as such this should appeal to a wide variety of soul lovers. To the rest of the excellent CD then - This is not a CD that plods along at the same pace where all tracks melt into each other. It is a very worthwhile CD that I can put on and leave on. Chuck crafts his melodies very well and weaves the magic of soul, funk and contemporary R&B to good effect: dropping in a funky bassline here, a dash of various guitar styles here and there, all aside his ample vocal talent.

The first song, "No Romance w/o Finance" really sets the pace for the entire CD. For example, "One Woman Man" is a clear winner for these ears. The funky moog bass line and definite drum backing consolidate the head-nodding mood as does the dreamy keyboard scales and Ernie-ish vocals and funky electric guitar. Apart from the obvious Isley influence, I hear a healthy smack of Chuckii Booker in the bass line which is sure to keep me happy! Play this loud, folks, and in the words of Robbie Vincent allow your bass-pins to tremble! I really love "Love Brought Me Home (Cause Pimpin Ain’t Easy)" with its mid 80s slow funk feel. It is a strong track with quirky keyboards and is a veiled swipe at the ‘playa’ culture and all that it attracts. More midtempo soul flavours adorn the CD on "Love Is What You Need" with its guitar / synth intro and the excellent "Give My Heart To You" which has a funky, lazy back beat, wah wah guitar and piano. Another song I hit the repeat button for is "She Gave Up On Love" which has a slight Southern soul feel to the vocal arrangement. Fans of classy modern REAL soul, and fans of the independent scene will lap up this CD, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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