Chanson – Chanson (1978) 24/96khz

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CHANSON
“Chanson”
1978 Ariola Records  SW-50039


A1     Don’t Hold Back    4:23
A2     I Can Tell    7:03
A3     I Love You More     3:49
B1     Why     4:25
B2     Did You Ever    4:33
B3     All The Time You Need    5:10

LINEAGE: Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

James Jamerson Jr – lead vocals and bass guitar
David Williams – lead vocals, guitar
David Paich – Keyboards
Jeff Porcaro – drums
Eddie Bongo Brown – congas, bongos
Ollie Brown – percussion on “Did You Ever”
Al McKay – guitar
Steve Porcaro – Synthesizer on “All The Time You Need”
Linda Evans – lead vocal on “I Can Tell”
Horns – Donald Myrick, Michael Davis Michael Harris, Louis Satterfield, Fred Jackson Jr., Willian Green, Oscar Brashear, George Bohannon
Backing Vocals – Julia Tillman, Lorna Willard, Marti McCall
 Recorded At – Kendun Recorders
 Mixed At – Kendun Recorders
 Mastered At – Allen Zentz Mastering
 Arranged By – Benjamin F. Wright Jr.
Art Direction, Illustration – John Georgopoulos
Published by Kichelle Music/Jamersonian Music/Cos-K Music ASCAP.
Produced for MK Productions.
    Concertmaster [Strings] – Janice Gower
      Contractor – Don Myrick
    Coordinator [Production Coordination] – Susan Evans
    Engineer [Recording and Mixing] – Richard Heenan
    Executive Producer – Marc Kreiner, Tom Cossie
      Mastered By – Brian Gardner
    Photography By [Back Cover] – Art Maruyama
    Photography By [Front Cover] – Sam Vinci
        Typography [Lettering] – Tom Nikosey
Recorded and mixed at Kendun Recorders.
Mastered at Allen Zentz Mastering Inc.

“Chanson” was a project of  James Jamerson Jr. – son of the great Motown legend James Jamerson, and who had played with a bunch of Motown bands in his own right, including the 70s incarnation of the Temps – and David Williams, who had played with The Dells.  The two standout tracks were released on the single – “Don’t Hold Back,” the manically funky anthem to the 70s philosophy of “if it feels good do it” (actually a lyric in the chorus, shamelessly) with which they had a reasonably big hit and which features a classic breakdown in the middle, and the slower tune “Did You Ever,” which sounds like it might have been aiming for the Quiet Storm radio format.  Ollie Brown’s percussion on that tune is some of the most quiet conga playing I have ever heard and the whole tune works real nicely.  “I Can Tell” is straight-up disco-funk with lots of conga and a nice vocal from Linda Evans.    “I Love You More” is a  modern soul number with a funky verse, a pop hook in the chorus, and a tight little flute riff.  Side One only lasts about fifteen minutes (the whole album clocks in a half an hour).  So at this point you would get up and refresh your drink, powder your nose or whatever other rituals compel you, and when you flipped the record over hopefully you wouldn’t notice that the next song “Why” has the exact same chord pattern as the last tune.  Except it sounds more like Billy Ocean or maybe the Doobie Brothers covering a song by Billy Ocean.  It’s not bad but at this point you start to wonder if some of this record isn’t a kind of “paint by numbers” modern soul / R+B album.  The mellow “Did You Ever” brings things back from the brink and keeps it interesting, and the album goes out on another slow-burner, “Take All The Time You Need”.

The playing is all super-tight and the arrangements are solid but lean, with a live-band sound to all of it even though there are some string overdubs.  I particularly like how they favored using acoustic piano over keyboards, kind of an unusual production choice for an album of this kind in 1978.  The few synth patches here and there stand out because of that, but in a good way, like in the lead off track.  All in all, this group had potential but sort of prove that oodles of talent and tight grooves can only get you so far without the stellar songwriting available to the environment nurtured Jamerson’s dad.  The whole thing has a pretty radio-friendly sound, and the first track will stay stuck in your head for days, but the rest of the tunes may need a little superglue or chewing gum.  They made one more album, which I have but about which I can literally remember nothing at all.  Which leads me to believe this is the better of the two, although I suppose I can dig that one out again sometime.

P.S. – Louis Satterfield of Earth Wind and Fire toots a horn on this record.

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks for this Flabber' !! Appreciated….

  2. This sounds like fun, despite (or because of?) the Toto-ness! Will definitely give it a 'spin'. Many thanks for this one, Flabbergast!
    Waltz

  3. As suas transferências do vinil são sensacionais. Eu nunca teria condições de apontar que, por exemplo, a "Don't Hold Back" veio de um vinil se eu não soubesse de antemão. Aliás, falando nela, um sucesso absoluto nas ondas da minha rádio preferida, hahaha.

    Estou gostando do disco. Valeu por mais essa, Flabber.

  4. As always, thanks for the opportunity to hear another album I'd never find without your blog. I didn't really care for this one though. I felt like it was overproduced and sounded like what it is, a bunch of studio musicians trying to come up with a hit record or at least some hit tunes. I also felt like the vocals (often) and the music (at times) were "pegging the needle" and going into the red, sounding almost like music played too loud over a cheap set of speakers. Overall, I think you nailed it when you said, "It's not bad but at this point you start to wonder if some of this record isn't a kind of "paint by numbers" modern soul / R+B album". I felt like pretty much the whole thing was paint by numbers. Talented painters, but paint-by-numbers nonetheless.

  5. Nice one, thank you!

  6. Can anyone recommend THE best audio restoration software standalone or plugin
    right below $$$$$$ Cedar Audio to remove distortion that plagues most, if not all of the tracks on these albums

    http://www.amazon.com/Outer-Limits-Original-Television-Soundtrack/dp/B000001P19/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1450702107&sr=1-2&keywords=outer+limits+soundtrack

    or this http://www.amazon.com/Outer-Limits-Dominic-Frontiere/dp/B0023RZT8Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1450702107&sr=1-1&keywords=outer+limits+soundtrack

    I'm mainly concerned with Frontiere's "100 Days of the Dragon" suite (Slumbering Giant). Very distorted. Is Izotope the best or are there one or two better? Please reply at cineennui@gmx.com. Thank you.

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