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CD of the month

March 15, 2008

It’s a new Gray Cat feature…every month (or so santa fe image) I’ll try to review a new, or at least new to me, CD. This month it’s “Let The Healing Begin,” by a Las Vegas horn band called Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns.It was recommended by Andy Ebon on Soul Music Online. Andy is the former Tower of Power webmaster and runs a web radio station and portal devoted to funk and R&B horn bands. The band is based at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, where it plays every Monday night. (That’s the night most of the other Vegas shows are dark, so they guys can work their regular shows. Musicianship is top-notch, and the horn section is notable excellent. It sounds a lot less like TOP and a lot more like Chicago should have for the last 30 years. The sound is very reminiscent of the Sons of Champlin, really; partly because guitarist and lead vocalist Jerry Lopez sounds so much like Bill Champlin – who is a friend of the band. (Bill Champlin became a member of Chicago after Terry Kath’s death.)This is a live recording at the Palms, and it has some of the problems some live albums have. The background vocals are mixed oddly to my ears. Perhaps it’s just because there are generally only three background parts, unlike bands like TOP where four or five band members can sing backup.On the upside, the tunes are well-written and the arrangements are great. It’s a different take on the horn band sound, and I can’t get enough of that. Does it sound like TOP? No. It also doesn’t sound like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, or Chicago, or Mingo Fishtrap, or anybody else…it sounds like Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, and that’s good enough! Recommended. Buy the CD from the band’s web site.

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