(independent, 2003)

Bluesy harmonica playing Chas teams up with an incredible number of musicians to create his debut recording. The music has a great up-tempo beat through much of the album and the 20 additional musicians add wonderfully complementary backing to the one-and-a-quarter hours of music.

With all 15 tracks composed by Chas himself and recorded over a prolonged period, with each musician carefully selected for the most appropriate song, the CD is definitely a labour of love.

And what a labour. This CD is great. Normally I don't care to venture very far from Celtic music, but for this album I am willing to make the journey. Chas's smooth vocals front the incredible music coming from the aforementioned musicians, with each song given its own unique characteristics.

The album flows along with mellow singing, edgy harmonies, stylish rhythm and vibrant horns. Although few tracks stand out, it is not due to a lack of quality, but more to an abundance. Some songs are fast, some are slow, but all are enjoyable, making the album a fantastic choice when you need something engaging, but not taxing. The album is fun and the great variety it contains makes it all the better. The final track is my favourite: "Then There's You" is about as close to a ballad as you will find here. It is an emotionally sung, lovely song.

Chas has struck gold with this album. Although it will probably not encourage me to venture much farther down the blues path, I am very glad that my one sojourn led me to this album. I would be afraid that other recordings wouldn't measure up to the standards set by this wonderful collection of original songs. It mightn't be the easiest album to come across, but making the effort to find it will be well rewarded with fantastic musicianship and truly enjoyable songs.

by Jean Emma Price
22 October 2005

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