Top positive review
12 of 12 people found this helpful
An enjoyable, tasteful album
on 9 November 2013
Anybody who approaches this album with any kind of negative prejudices should probably go and browse elsewhere, because, let's face it; you're not going to enjoy it at all. However, if you are a fan of Chas & Dave, know the entire range of their material, their influences and their long, varied career (or, at least, quite like them are open minded enough to give this a go), then you are almost guaranteed to really enjoy this album. I hold my hands up; I've never been anything but neutral about the "rockney" duo. I invested in a best of earlier this year as I was going to a Chas & Dave gig with a friend and found that I really quite liked a lot of it, although I admit that plenty of the enjoyment was down to nostalgia as, when I was kid in the early eighties, they seemed to be everywhere for a while. When I heard that there was a new Joe Henry-produced album coming out with some well-respected special guests, I was intrigued and knew it was either going to be very good or dreadful... thankfully it's the former, rather than the latter.
This album is an attempt to re-introduce Charles & David (perhaps they should have called themselves that!) to the world as the serious and very capable musicians they have always been. It's still a fun endeavour and there are plenty of songs to sing along and tap your feet to, but the overall tempo is somewhat slower than the piano hammerers they're best known for and there's a nice mix of rock, blues, skiffle, boogie-woogie and much of the music that has influenced the duo over the years. There are a few standards here such as "San Francisco Bay Blues", "Midnight Special" and "Glory Of Love" which are respectfully and joyously tackled by the band. Everything on this album is at least listenable, but most of it is really very good indeed.
I have a handful of favourites on "That's What Happens". The powerful "Two Worlds Collide" is a really fantastic song and has a full, meaty sound featuring saxophones and violin which, apart from the poignant re-working of "Ain't No Pleasing You", is probably my pick of the album. "Rocking Gloworm", an excellent piece of instrumental boogie-woogie (it's almost a rag) is also one of my favourites. I can't honestly state that this is the most brilliant, outstanding piece of work I've heard this year, but it's certainly one of the most relaxed and uncomplicated albums, which means that it is very easy to just lose yourself in and simply enjoy. It's just a lovely, unpretentious, charming listen which has just the right mix of fun, serious musicianship and character to stay on the right side of tastefulness and could easily win them many new admirers and persuade others to realise that there is much more to Chas & Dave than their stereotypical "knees up" image from a few decades ago. Let's hope so.