For most, Chris Thompson needs little introduction. Besides his large solo career, Thompson is perhaps best known for his stint as the vocalist for Manfred Mann's Earth Band in their most popular time. Yet the list of musicians and bands he has worked with over the last 40 years is as long an English futbol field. This makes him a prolific, a near legend, and nearly as old dirt.
But can Thompson write some great classic melodic rock tunes. Indeed. And his vocal skills have lost nothing over the years. Toys & Dishes is his latest solo album, and it's not another foray in jazz and big band standards. But I give that away at the start.
For some odd reason Thompson's voice and music reminds of something maybe John Cafferty would write for another Eddie and the Cruisers movie. (Cripes. I hope that never happens.) I think I caught this vibe from the song Eddie Wants to Rock, a real slice of classic rock, catchy and laced with saxophone. Got to love sax. The rock songs may be some of the best stuff here, notably Hey You and the humorous Million Dollar Wonder Hit. It could definitely be a hit, but probably not garner a cool million for Thompson.
Other songs turn on an almost country vibe, subtle rather than entirely deliberate, as with You're the One I Love and Sad Song Wishes. Woe Is Me adds some classic blues shuffle to the mix. Mostly they're delightful melodic rock in an AOR wrapper. Alternatively, for a turn in another direction, We Run delivers heavier riffs for a more forceful delivery, yet with out lacking melody or groove. Ultimately, Toys & Dishes shows the depths of both Thompson's rich musical experience and creativity, certainly something not unexpected. Easily recommended.
Ultimately, Toys & Dishes shows the depths of both Thompson's rich musical experience and creativity, certainly something not unexpected. Easily recommended.
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