Chris Daniels And The Kings with Freddi Gowdy
|Inspired by the classic horn bands of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s Chris Daniels And The Kings (together with Freddi Gowdy) are celebrating their 33rd year by continuing their crusade to revive the formula with the release of the group’s 15th album, “Blues With Horns Vol 1.” The ten tracks include three new originals and seven reimagined covers of soul-drenched, horn-driven blues rock, featuring guest artists like Sonny Landreth, Subdudes keyboardist John Magnie, Hazel Miller (Big Head Todd & The Monsters), Clay Kirkland (Gary Morris, Robben Ford) and many more.
Daniels drew inspiration from one of his heroes Lowell George of Little Feat to pen the loving ode to the home of the blues, ‘Sweet Memphis,’ and infused the opening track with the magic of Landreth’s guitar a slinky Tulsa shuffle from drummer Randy Amen and of course hot horns jabs. He then trades verses with Freddi Gowdy as they sing the praises of age-old juke joints and downhome blues on the greasy groove of ‘Fried Food/Hard Liquor.’ The party continues with Gowdy doing his best James Brown on the dance floor anthem ‘Get Up off the Funk,’ then slipping easily into the swinging Sam Cooke sing along ‘Soothe Me Baby,’ that also features Hazel Miller and Coco Brown joining in on the chorus. The ensemble adds some grit to Bobby Bland standard from 1974 ‘Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me), intertwining the soulful horns with hot blues harp from Clay Kirkland. The hard drive of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s ‘Baby’s In Love With The Radio,’ and Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s ‘You Can Stay But That Noise Must Go,’ are celebrations of the funk rock and blues music they love. The band ventures down to the Ninth Ward of New Orleans to spin the yarn of hard luck and trouble, Elvin Bishop’s knee slapper ‘Can’t Even Do Wrong Right.’ Everyone joins in on the signature riff of hard funk prototype from buddy Miles ‘Them Changes’ that churns and burns into a soul stew of boiling horns, blues harp, guitars and fatback drums.
Daniels closes the set by sitting down with an acoustic guitar alongside the piano of Magnie and more fine harmonica from Kirkland for a delightful ragtime ramble ‘Rain Check,’ spelling out his easy-going survival strategy as taught to him by his mama from Arkansas, who also beat cancer by “dancing every chance I get before I have to go.”
In the album notes for “Blues With Horns Vol.1,” Daniels and The Kings make a succinct dedication to “Mamie Smith, Albert King, Al Kooper, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnny Taylor, Koko Taylor and all those remarkable men and women, who recorded with killer horn sections that I listened to as a kid.” A legacy they have proudly taken up with fire and passion to keep these blues alive.
“Blues With Horns Vol 1” is the band’s strongest album to date and the packaging by famed artist Greg Carr, who did all the packaging for Steve Martin and other artists, make this a “must have” recording for music lovers of all ages and interests.
Rick J Bowen
Chris Daniels and The Kings are known for their horn injected rockin’ soul and funk from here to Amsterdam. The Kings have toured Europe 21 times, been signed to Provogue Records (home to Joe Bonamassa and Gov’t Mule) as well as Virgin in France and BMG in Germany. They’ve appeared on everything from the Nashville Network to HDNet and been favorite of non-comm and roots radio since their first top-ten record “When You’re Cool” (the sun shines all the time) back in 1987. The band has played for presidents, headlined festivals in the US and Europe and served as the backup band for everybody from Al Kooper and David Bromberg to Garth Brooks and John Oats.
Chris Daniels, a survivor of Acute Myeloid Leukemia, was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame with Judy Collins in the class of 2013 and he was a co-writer and soloist for a Grammy-nominated children’s album that year. Chris serves as the “Area Head” for the Music Business Program at the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, where he received the Award for Excellence in Teaching from CAM 2011.
Freddi Gowdy, a prostate cancer survivor, is a founding member of the 60s soul duo “Freddi Henchi (Henchi Graves) and the Soulsetters. They evolved out of the Phoenix, Arizona band “The Jokers” in 1966. Discovered and nurtured by a local radio disc jockey and producer named Hadley Murrell “The Crown Princes of Funk” moved to L.A. and signed various record deals – eventually with Warner/Reprise who released their first album “Dance.” Because of that album and numerous singles the band toured the US becoming the party-masters of the college circuit. In 1970 Freddi and Henchi moved to Colorado where Caribou Studios and Feyline Concerts gave them recording time and opening act slots on major shows with the likes of James Brown, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Tina Turner to name only a few. The Soulsetters, and later the Freddi Henchi Band, were the hottest funk-machine west of the Mississippi. After Henchi Graves’ death from cancer in 2009, Fred and Chris connected at a COMHF event and the rest, as they say, is history.
Recently, Chris Daniels and The Kings were the backup band for Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, John Oats, JOHNNYSWIM, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Richie Furay, Michael Martin Murphy, and many more for the Colorado Music Hall of Fame induction of Dan Fogelberg, Caribou Ranch Recording Studio and Joe Walsh & Barnstorm on August 13, 2017 in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,000 at Fiddler’s Green – the TV special filmed at the event will be broadcast on PBS and Showtime in November.