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Taxi Chain: Smarten Up!

Jim Santella By

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Blues bands come in all shapes and sizes, from country roots to urban sizzle and contemporary fizz. Taxi Chain captures all that and more.

Bagpipes and fifes recall early Americana and European music, more so than our idea of the blues. Taxi Chain explores the roots of Great Britain that were imported to North America long ago. These folk anthems, all originals, ring quite familiar. However, the band has wedded this early European folk music with James Brown and Elvis and Indian music. What a crazy bunch. Pairing a bagpipe and Highland fling with downtown, urban funk creates a sound like no other.

Grier Coppins sings a genuine country & western ballad that offers a bit of down-home comedy. Simple in nature, the piece explains this band’s loose attitude. His interpretation of “Buck a Joy” brings a dramatic, contemporary blues mood to the session. Guitar, bass and tenor saxophone support Coppins in this deeply passionate ballad offering. The band responds as a chorus to drive the message home. Following traditional blues form, the song relates a sweet tale of falling in love, and how it can change your whole world real fast.

”It’s Your Birthday” takes the listener on a trip to Central and South America with an old-fashioned Western ballad refrain. “Zimbobby,” as its title implies, reaches across the Atlantic and gathers up fascinating South African rhythms. Give this album two thumbs up and four stars.

Taxi Chain is a blues band that has managed to link music from many areas of the world. Find out where the band’s name comes from at their web site .


Track Listing: Memphis; Smarten Up!; James Brown Ate My Bagpipe; Cut Me a Key; Buck a Joy; Tandoori Mustache; It

Personnel: Taxi Chain: Grier Coppins- vocal, guitar, tin whistle, bagpipe, organ; Ayron Mortley- guitar, mandolin, banjo; Jim Bish- alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, harmonica, piccolo; Joe Burns- bass; Ron Rooth- drums; Special guests: Mark Wessenger- organ, piano, keyboards; Greg Monk- guitar; Josh Hicks- drums; Owen Pallet- fiddle, viola; Pat Simmonds- fiddle.

Title: Smarten Up! | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: NorthernBlues Music


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