Sunday, 13 April 2014

Chris White - Mouth Music (1976)

For years people (including yours truly) have thought that this is the Chris White from the Zombies. It makes sense that the man who wrote a good half of "Odessey & Oracle" would be back in the 1970's with his own album of summery, Beach Boys inspired pop, but the Chris White in question is totally unrelated.

So as I mentioned before, Mr White takes his cue from the Beach Boys with this LP which would fit in their discography quite comfortably between the "M.I.U" and "L.A album" and if I'm honest, I'd probably rank "Mouth Music" a little higher than both of these. Released on the Famous Charisma Label and produced by Shel Talmy (Who, Kinks, Creation) with arrangements by Tom Parker and backed by the same band who played on the Velvet Glove album, namely Clem Cattini (drums), Zed Jenkins (guitar) and Dave Olney (bass).

"The name's White, Chris White...
err, not that Chris White!"
The opinions on this album appear to be mixed with most of the complaints being the production, but lets not forget this is 1976 not 1967 so expect plenty of synth, layers of harmony vocals, disco funk (not as bad as you think) and even cod reggae on "Zombee Jamboree", I personally, don't have an issue with this! "Don't Look Down" is such a killer album opener and "Natural Rhythm" has a very Wings vibe to it. If I've got any beef with this record it would be the unnecessary cover versions, "Surfin' USA" and "Dancing In The Street" but I'm guessing this was a record company decision. Thanks to some push from Kenny Everett, the Chris Rainbow-alike single "Spanish Wine", taken from the album, enjoyed a bit of chart action thus making it an easy record to find and for cheap too.

So maybe "Mouth Music" is what some may call a guilty pleasure, but not me, I just call it great lost pop that deserves more ears, although I won't be playing it in the car with the windows down! Fans of 10CC and Alan Parsons Project will definitely dig this record. The was a CD reissue a few years back with a heap of bonus tracks including a fab unreleased tune called "Frisbee" which is bordering on power pop.

If you're out there reading this Chris White, please get in touch. I'd love to hear your story...


2 comments:

  1. I first heard of this record years ago via David Bash, the ringmaster of International Pop Overthrow. Definately NOT a guilty pleasure, as many an old Audities List subscriber would attest. There was an expanded edition of Mouth Music released in 1999 with 28 cuts + a nice booklet.

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  2. I'm his daughter and it's so nice to hear good things, I know he is an amazing man and it's nice to know other people do as well xx

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