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Album Review

TIM CHAISSON & MORNING FOLD
Broken Hearted Beat

This won't be the first time you'll hear me say this (indeed, you may have already heard me say it): When Bob Segarini talks, I listen. Lately, it has even gone the other way. Recently, I sent him a tip about Lake Charles, Louisiana's best kept secret (though secret no longer), Research Turtles, and he made the comment that were he once again twenty, that would be the band he would like to be in. If you know Segarini and his history in music (Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and Segarini--- the band), you know what high praise that is.

Now, Segarini is not the kind of guy who takes without giving back. He in turn handed me a list of a number of worthy lesser knowns, Canada's bubbling-unders so to speak, and in wading through them (Well, 'wading' is not really the term. I really do have a passion for the underdog, especially the underdog musician), one seemingly 'okay' band snuck up behind me and, after a third listen, clubbed me over the head. No, I would not be a member of their band even at twenty, mainly because my talents are limited to listening when it comes to music. Still, I am one hell of a listener and when Tim Chaisson & Morning Fold broke through the white noise it was akin to waking the morning after a monumental drunk and finding I had no hangover.

The cool thing about Broken Hearted Beat is that it is a team effort. True, Chaisson is the voice (and good voice it is), but voice is only a part of this equation. This album is song-driven and you can thank not only Chaisson but Gordie Johnson and Joel Plaskett, who collaborated in varying combinations on all twelve tracks. That's right, I said 'thank'. There are many of us who crave the song, you know? Without the gimmicks and the bells and whistles. The song is here, times twelve.

There is the ska-influenced Slippin' Away, a cross between Van Morrison and Jackson Browne and of that class; You and I Somehow is what Jackson Browne used to be and maybe still is, at moments, and would have fit seamlessly with the songs on Wayne Berry's fine Home At Last album (talk about lost classics!); Browne might have slowed Souris River Girl down a bit and added his signature voice, but Chaisson does fine on his own, thank you very much; Real is of the cloth of Perfect (see below) and has airplay written all over it, if airplay means anything these days; and Take a Breath, thanks to piano bedrock, is pure pop closer.

Perfect? It sounds like a thousand things you've heard before except it doesn't. Upbeat and poppy, it rides the beat effortlessly, the chorus full of the melody and harmony which made many of the early rockers the successes they became. It isn't the hook as much as it is the combination of beat, sound and lyrics. Call if Soft Rock or whatever you want, it encompasses all that would have made it a smash back in the mid- to late-seventies and would still today if the structure of the music industry was not so damaged.

And then there is I'll Have You Know. Few remember a group called Morning, an early seventies Los Angeles group which released two albums to little response. Their second, Struck Like Silver, had a slowed-down rendering of the Hoyt Axton-penned Never Been to Spain which left the Three Dog Night version in the dust. Chaisson and crew on I'll Have You Know reprise the sound and feel of the Morning arrangement, the chances of their having heard of Morning monumentally slim. Music is a cycle, I guess. This is the kind of cycle I love.

With as much good music out there as there is (and there is pull-entee, believe me!), I have heard very few arrtists of this genre (vocal pop, I would say it is) who impress. This impresses me muchly, to borrow a friend's phrase, and I owe Mr. Segarini a debt of gratitude. With as much music as I find surrounding me, there is always room for artists like Chaisson and crew. Good is good. I like it. A lot.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.


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