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Taxi Chain: Smarten Up!

Progressive music often is defined within the ears of the listener. With that in mind, I present to you Taxi Chain: a Canadian Celtic-blues-jazz-R&B-funk-folk outfit founded in 1993 by Grier Coppins, who fronted the renegade bagpipes-jazz-funk-fusion band Rare Air in the Eighties. Smarten Up!, amazingly only the five-man band's debut CD, is progressive in the sense that no other band is likely making the same fresh and earthy combination of sounds as these guys. Equally split between instrumentals and songs with lyrics, Smarten Up! portrays Taxi Chain as high-end bar musicians, and these tracks must kick up a lot of dust in a live setting. One reviewer referred to Taxi Chain as The Highlander meets The Commitments. I wish I'd have thought of that one

This isn't for everyone, especially listeners who think progressive music stops when the Mellotrons and multiple signature changes do. But should you have an open mind (and ears), consider shelling out for Smarten Up! You'll feel good about yourself and the world. Then if the tin whistle, Highland bagpipes and mandolin on the title track don't bring a wide-ass grin to your face, just give this album to someone who'll appreciate its surprisingly warm embrace.

Track Listing:
1) Memphis (5:57)
2) Smarten Up! (4:16)
3) James Brown Ate My Bagpipe (3:35)
4) Cut Me A Keyt (3:19)
5) Buck A Joy (5:66)
6) Tandoori Mustache (4:28)
7) It's Your Birthday (5:15)
8) Zimbobby (4:52)
9) Memphis (Reprise) (1:55)
Total Time: 39:37

Added: March 23rd 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: NorthernBlues Music
Hits: 2187
Language: english

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