Smarten Up

Smarten Up

by Taxi Chain
     
 

You could call Taxi Chain the quintessential bar band. There's no doubt that their music -- which skips freely from soul to Celtic, R&B to a kind of jazzy funk with a touch of swing along the way -- would go down well in a club. It's translating that to a studio record that's the problem. It's typified by the opening cut, "Memphis." TheSee more details below

Overview

You could call Taxi Chain the quintessential bar band. There's no doubt that their music -- which skips freely from soul to Celtic, R&B to a kind of jazzy funk with a touch of swing along the way -- would go down well in a club. It's translating that to a studio record that's the problem. It's typified by the opening cut, "Memphis." The song itself is fine, a pastiche of Memphis soul. But in the studio, at least, the rhythm section drags, which stops the whole thing from working (and the use of a chorus effect on the guitar is annoying, too). "Cut Me a Key" suffers from a similar problem, while the title track, a Celtic pastiche, is pleasant, but never outstanding. Maybe it comes with the territory, being Jacks of all musical trades, but they master none. Having the Highland pipes is fine and makes them stand out, but Grier Coppins isn't a master piper, by any means. "Zimbobby" is probably meant as a tribute to Dylan, but its reach for jazz and the jam falls short. In short, there's nothing wrong with the album -- it's perfectly listenable -- but at the same time, everything is wrong. It might have been best to have captured the band live, where the energy was flowing with a crowd, and they were looser, because the stiffness on this is so palpable that you can feel the tension. A good massage and a live outing next time, maybe?

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/02/2004
Label:
Northern Blues
UPC:
0809509001927
catalogNumber:
19
Rank:
306840

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Taxi Chain   Primary Artist
Grier Coppins   Bagpipes,Vocals,tin whistle,Guitar (Tenor),Group Member
Jim Bish   Harmonica,Piccolo,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Background Vocals,Group Member
Joe Burns   Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member
Josh Hicks   Drums,Guest Appearance
Pat Simmonds   Fiddle,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Grier Coppins   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Andrew St. George   Mastering
Traditional   Composer
Fred Litwin   Liner Notes
Taxi Chain   Arranger
Grier Coppins   Producer

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