There are some folks that you owe it to yourself to check out if they’re not already in your musical repertoire. These are the cats you should always see at least once when they come to town, whose CDs you should have at least one of, etc. If you’re a true blue, hardcore music geek (and you may well be if you’re reading this), genre is irrelevant. Artists of this caliber have proven their chops and consistently impress, and you’d be a damn fool not to try them out yourself. George Clinton comes to mind as quickly as does Willie Nelson. Particularly if you’re a NoVa resident, Chuck Brown makes the list, too, hands down.
So it was with great relish (and various other condiments) that I listened to Chuck’s latest, Timeless. Mr. Brown, in addition to being the Godfather of Go-Go, also has an obvious love for more traditional jazz, and here he explores that love more closely than on his previous effort, We’re About the Business. It’s much closer in spirit to The Other Side in that sense.
Timeless contains some classic jazz standards, and does a bang-up job of showcasing Brown’s immaculate vocals. The man sounds like caramel coming to a slow boil; there’s really no other way to put it. Some of the tracks are a bit heavy on the vibrato for my ears, but to each, their own, I always say. Also, the material here is autumnal, both in tenor and stature, from the sound of Chuck’s voice to the choice of song subjects (getting older, remembering good times past, etc.).
For fans of the go-go sound, the final track, “Caravan”, succinctly combines the jazz/funk feel of both genres, proving Chuck has by no means lost his chops, even during exploratory ventures such as this.
This probably isn’t the best starting point for one first coming into CB’s sound, but it certainly is a strong showing regardless. Imagine if your Gramps was the coolest cat on the planet and he just put out a new CD. That’s what is brought to the table here. Timeless, indeed.