Blues Bytes


April 2015

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Chris Daniels & the Kings
Funky to the Bone
Moon Voyage Records

Chris Daniels and the Kings

Chris Daniels & the Kings first came to my attention because a friend of mine in Phoenix, George Bowman, asked me about lead singer Freddi Gowdy. Freddi had evidently gone back to his Phoenix haunts for a little R & R and George had met him at a jam there. A bit of research led me to the band and I had the pleasure of seeing them for the first time at NewWestFest, here in Fort Collins, last August. I liked what I heard and Chris announced from the stage that they were in the midst of recording their first record with Freddi on it, and it would be available around December. Fortunately for me, that disc, Funky to the Bone, arrived recently.

Both Chris and Freddi are survivors of some major medical issues from their past, and are both happy today to celebrate life and living with some of their tastiest stuff yet. The band starts right out with the title track, “Funky to the Bone,” and we’re off and running. “People stand up and shout….funky what it’s all about…ain’t nobody here alone…everybody’s funky to the bone.” Jim Waddell is blowing some wild sax and its all good news to my ears. More horns echo in my ear as Chris takes the microphone for “Something You Got.” I’m liking Chris’s impassioned vocals on this tune, “Something you got baby…keeps me home every night…something you got, baby…makes me feel alright…something you got, baby…you ought to know…my…my…I love you so.” I’m hearing Billy Payne’s B3 in the background and I can tell that Chris and Freddi have assembled a talented group of musicians behind them for this project.

Freddi’s back at the microphone for “Don’t Let Your Mouth Write No Checks,” sound advice for the players in the house. “Get yourself in trouble…talking all those things…sometime….somewhere…someone’s going to call your bluff.” It can happen and it’s much better to be safe than sorry. “Joy” is up next, and I appreciate the band’s take on this classic tune. I’m hearing Darren Kramer’s trombone as part of the mix as Freddi speaks his truth. “I’ve got joy…real joy…right down in my soul.” Freddi’s happiness is real and his joy is punctuated by exquisite alto sax tones from Jim Waddell.

The band moves on to “Cool Breeze” with Chris back on the vocals. “I love the cool breeze…in the summertime…that’s what’s on my mind.” Chris Kimmel and Freddi add a cool rap piece to the tune and I appreciate the creativity that Chris, Freddi & the Kings are showing here. There’s an awesome horn section in the mix and “Cool Breeze” is rapidly becoming my favorite tune on the disc. Lead guitarist Colin “Bones” Jones is laying down some nasty licks as we move on to “Dance Dance.” “Goes right to my head….right down to my feet…everybody in the house….let’s see you dance…dance…dance.”  Billy Payne’s piano is at the forefront as the Kings move on to tackle “What a Day.” “What a day…it’s going to be…when my baby comes walking in on me…laughing and smiling…shouting at the break of day.” Freddi and Chris are swapping vocals and its all good here.

The band segues into “Nobody Knows.” and there’s a hot Latin feel to this tune. “Nobody knows but you…nobody what I’ve been through…I love you baby.” Christian Teele is handling the percussion with Randy Amen on the drums and they’ve got the back end covered on this tune to perfection. I mentioned earlier that both Chris and Freddi are survivors. Chris from leukemia and Freddi from prostate cancer, and they celebrate this very fact on our next cut, “Survivors.” “We are survivors….we stood up and we faced it…I know we’re going to make it…we are survivors…we’ve been through the fire…standing with each other…we will survive.” An amazing tune of optimism, “Survivors” is another tune on this disc that I will revisit from time to time.

Last but not least, the band closes with “Birthday Suit,” featuring Chris at the microphone. “Three o’clock comes in the morning baby…and you’re dressed up in that fine birthday suit…I hope all your dreams come true, baby…happy birthday to you.” I love the band’s irreverence at times and you can’t help but love a band like Chris Daniels & the Kings doing nothing but having fun.

Chris and the Kings have a long history here in Colorado, with Funky to the Bone being their 16th overall recording and the first with Freddi Gowdy as part of the band. The goal here was to produce an infectious disc, celebrating the joy of living and they definitely exceeded all of their expectations here I’m sure. Chris Daniels & the Kings can be found all around Colorado’s numerous venues and I’m sure there’s a good chance they’ll be looking to branch out from the square state this year. The band’s website is, and I’m sure you can find all of the information you’ll need for a good time there.

--- Kyle Deibler

No album was ever more appropriately titled than Funky to the Bone, the latest release from the Colorado blues & funk band Chris Daniels & the Kings on Moon Voyage Records. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Daniels has been a part of the Boulder music scene since the mid-’80s, forming the Kings in 1984. Since 2009, the group has also featured singer Freddi Gowdy, who was part of the underrated ’60s soul duo Freddi Henchi and the Soulsetters.

The band’s 16th album is an irresistible mix of blues, funk, soul, and fun. If you can stand still while listening, you should probably seek medical attention. The cast of characters that make up the Kings includes Randy Amen (drums, vocals), Kevin “Bro” Lege (bass, vocals), Colin “Bones” Jones (lead guitar), Jim Waddell (tenor and alto saxes, vocals), and Darryl “Doody” Abrahamson (trumpet, vocals). They are joined by a bevy of guest musicians that include Little Feat’s Billy Payne (keys), Christian Teele (percussion), Darren Kramer (trombone), Bob Rebholz (tenor sax), Carlos Chavez (baritone sax), and vocalists Hazel Miller, Coco Brown, Carl Carwell, and Chris Kimmel.

The title track opens the disc; a remake of an old Soulsetters track that really gets the party started in fine fashion and in a perfect world, this song would be blowing up radios worldwide. A bluesy cover of Chris Kenner’s “Something You Got” is next, and it retains the Crescent City feel of the original. The sassy original “Don’t Let Your Mouth Write No Checks” is loaded with funk to spare and a feisty vocal from Gowdy. The exuberant “Joy” is one of two covers from the pen of R&B/Gospel legend Rance Allen (the other is the swinging “What a Day”), and is punctuated by a strong sax break from Waddell.

“Cool Breeze” feels a lot like a classic Tower of Power track from the ’70s with it’s jazzy backdrop, but also includes a bit of hip hop with a rap (courtesy of Gowdy and Waddell) mixed in, and “Dance Dance Dance” should make you do just that if you have a pulse at all. The Latin-flavored “Nobody Knows” brings Santana to mind with the percussion work of Teele and Jones’ lead guitar. The ballad “Survivors” is especially poignant and inspirational because Daniels and Gowdy are both cancer survivors. The saucy blues shuffle “Birthday Suit” closes things out on a high note.

There’s a whole lot to like about Funky to the Bone. It’s loaded from top to bottom with seriously funky blues and R&B. If you’ve been looking for a new album for your next party, look no further ... here it is. Chris Daniels & the Kings, with a big hand from Freddi Gowdy, have just what you’re looking for.

--- Graham Clarke



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