Sunday, September 14, 2014

A review of EVERYBODY KNOWS, by the Christopher Morris Band

I recently received this splendid CD as a gift, and have been listening to it once a day for the past 4 days now. Christopher Morris and his band have created a fresh, kicking blend of jazz, rock and funk and CD filled with songs that any record company, back in the day, would NOT have a problem with the "I don't hear the hit single!" Every song on this CD is a hit single to me. Track one, "Can't Turn Away," gets things rolling with a very strong and catchy melody and chorus, with solid back-beat and rhythm section that will pull you out of your chair and onto the dance floor. Tracks three, four and six, "Good Times," the title song, "Everybody Knows," and "Want You Back Again" are my other two favorites. But for very personal reasons, my very favorite is #12, the bonus track, "The Sacred Band March." Not only is Christopher Crosby a fantastic guitarist with a smoky-velvet voice, he is a wonderful author, too: with his wife, Janet Morris, the acclaimed science-fiction and fantasy author, he co-wrote many novels and short stories, and their classic of heroic fantasy, "The Sacred Band," is the inspiration for the rousing and most appropriate instrumental that captures the essence of their novel. And incidentally, Janet Morris plays lays down some funky bass guitar riffs on a number of these song, as well as having written song lyrics. In 1977, the Christopher Morris Band's debut album was released by MCA Records, and Ken Tucker of Rolling Stone magazine hailed it as something new in pop music -- "fusion, a blend of roots, rock and jazz forms." The album, by the way, was produced by the legendary Al Kooper, best known for his sessions with guitarist Mike Bloomfield.

I've been playing rock and roll guitar since 1964, and what I love about "Everybody Knows" is the musicianship, the quality and tastefulness of each player and each instrument. Not a chord or a note wasted or overused. The songs are beautifully written, well craft and perfectly produced. Chris Morris' vocal never falter and carry each song through a variety of emotions, putting heart and soul into every word of every verse and chorus. His guitar-playing is crisp and clean and always spot on. The overall production of the CD is sharp and clear, with a perfect sound-mix. I look forward to hearing more from Chris Morris' in the future, and if you visit YouTube, you can find a couple of live solo performances that showcase his guitar virtuosity and his incredible vocals on songs like the classic "Misty," and his own sweet composition, "Searcher." You can even find a video of "The Sacred Band March." So if you like fusion, you're sure to enjoy this CD, and you've never really heard or gave a series listen to fusion before, this is fine place to CD. let "Everybody Knows" and the Christopher Morris Band be your introduction to a world of great and timeless music.