19 Feb 2020
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Li'l Chuck the One Man Skiffle Machine - Album Review - Mono

25 Feb 2019 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

Independent Christchurch based multi-instrumentalist Li’l Chuck the One Man Skiffle Machine, has just released his third album Mono. David Thorpe (aka Li’l Chuck) shines on this album, fourteen tracks of pure nostalgic blues, early jazz and ragtime recorded at Sugar Ray’s Vintage Recording Studio, in Essex, UK. Entirely using 1950’s mono recording equipment, direct to tape. The result is a captivating journey back in time of paired back music to its core essentials.

Li’l Chuck, may only be one man, but he pumps out a full sound of the highest quality. He is a one man band skilfully playing the kick drum, hi hat, resonator guitar and harmonica simultaneously. Adding to that are his strong bluesy vocals, channelling his “nostalgic melting pot of influences”.

Mono is an honest no frills album, producing music of the highest standard. No sound techs or fancy equipment, no big recording studio with all the latest bells and whistles just “One Man…One Man Band…One Microphone… One Day Recording Session…” creating an impressive 14 track album with a unique sound and a gutsy lively spirt.

Gritty blues and a good dose of harmonica, a selection of new originals and interpretations of old favourites make up this album. Recorded in a style that captures the “raw energy”. The first track on Mono is a Li’l Chuck original Right By My Side, launching straight into fast paced harmonica. Further along a moody rendition of Cross Road Blues and a toe tapping Red Rooster.

Recording through vintage gear, playing multiple instruments at once and singing along are an impressive notion to me. “I like music with integrity” Li’l Chuck can be quoted as saying. That certainly radiates through on this album. Charisma and integrity.

Mono has a sincere sound to it; little soundbites have been left in here and there on several tracks indicating that not every song was set down first take. Recording all fourteen tracks over one day in the studio of his dreams has been a massive achievement for Li’l chuck – The One Man Skiffle Machine. The unique sound and quality of the recording suited his style of music perfectly.

I would like to acknowledge the care that he puts into his CD cover and informative insert booklet. As with his past albums, honest uncomplicated photography and a good insight into the artist are always appreciated.

It amazes me how one person can do all these things at once to create a solid cohesive sound. That’s five stars from me.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Li'l Chuck the One Man Skiffle Machine

Li'l Chuck The One Man Skiffle Machine is an authentic one man band performing 'good time music with old time style'. Blessed with the ability to handle multiple instruments at a time, he is the master of coordination: blowin', suckin' and pluckin' simultaneously! He cranks out the harmonica, resonator guitar, kick drum, hi hat, kazoo and vocals to give the audience a rollicking good time.

Li'l Chuck has spent a lifetime rummaging through the drawers of 1930's - 50's music. His mainly original songs are inspired by the sounds of the era - Blues, Early Jazz, Western Swing, Ragtime etc. and are uniquely presented in the style of the street performers from those glory days.

Originally hailing from the UK, Li'l Chuck first stomped out his music on the Streets of Christchurch in 2003 after relocating to NZ.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Li'l Chuck the One Man Skiffle Machine

Releases

Mono
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Utility Blues
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Blues In Full Swing
Year: 2014
Type: Album

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