Sons of Champlin
Hip Li'l Dreams
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2005, Volume 12, #8
Written by John Metzger
Though it was forged within the bubbling cauldron of San Franciscoís psychedelic scene ó right alongside the likes of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead ó Sons of Champlin followed a different path toward enlightenment. Distinguishing itself from its Bay-area brethren, the group embraced soul, funk, and R&B. Indeed, its music was punctuated by horns and laced with heady swirls of Hammond B-3 organ long before Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears rose to prominence.
Although Sons of Champlin has reunited sporadically in recent years for an array of concert performances, it has been nearly three decades since the collective ventured into a recording studio. Therefore, in the eyes of its fans, Hip Liíl Dreams has been long overdue. Granted, throughout the endeavor, Sons of Champlin offers little that is new: the opening For Joy sounds like a collaboration between Little Feat and Chicago; Maybeís jazz-oriented textures are drawn from Steely Dan; the tender ballad Iím Not Your Lover recalls Abandoned Luncheonette-era Hall & Oates; and the title track finds common ground between David Crosby and James Brown. Yet, the rhythmic drive provided by bass player David Schallock and drummer James Preston significantly livens up the proceedings by lending the material a sense of urgency around which the rest of the instrumentation can coalesce. In other words, unlike Sons of Champlinís earliest efforts, Hip Liíl Dreams is a professionally polished affair. Nevertheless, it also proves that even after all these years, the group still has a lot of life left in it.
Hip Li'l Dreams is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box