Friday 18 May 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - P: Chris Pope - Peace Of Mind

The Mod Revival of the late 70s produced a number of similar bands imbued with the energy of punk and new wave, and looking back to/incorporating the energy and release of the R&B of the 60s (The Who, The Kinks, Small Faces being obvious influences, but The Creation, The Action and great slabs of Motown also mentioned in dispatches).
The Revival ran from around 1978 (probably coinciding with the release of The Jam's All Mod Cons), picked up a head of steam with the release of the film Quadrophenia in 1979, and then petered out in 1982.

One of the biggest bands of the Revival ceased operations in 1982 with the band members going their separate ways to varying degrees of success.
The band themselves have re-grouped and are still doing the rounds without their original lead singer, who is still releasing records and touring as a solo artist.

But it's probably not the band you're thinking of.
This is the story of The Chords and Chris Pope.

The Chords were active from 1978, and had 7 singles (only 1 scraping into the Top 40) and a single album ('So Far Away') in 1982.
After they split, lead singer Chris Pope formed a couple of bands that never really went anywhere.
Re-united (briefly) with Chords drummer Brett Buddy Ascott, the band Pope eventually released new material with 'Grace Of God' in 2005.
2009s 'Tall Tales And Cheap Thrills' kept the same name.  This album reverted to the Chris Pope miniker, suggesting a fully fledged solo album.

And it is the best of the bunch. All cut from a similar cloth - R&B riffs from a Gibson, backed by a solid rhythm section, possibly a Hammond organ, and an occasional horn section.
This one has added anger and frustration at the world he sees around him - Chris has something he wants to get off his chest, and is not holding back.  There is also some reflection going on where he confronts his past, and wonders how it all ended up like this.
All delivered with energy, commitment and 100% belief in what he is doing (there are no record labels involved, so I'm guessing Chris is ban-rolling himself through live performance and (would it be unfair to suggest "limited"?) royalty payments.

Unfortunately, Chris Pope is one of those artists that is far better in a live setting than when committed to record - something in the delivery and experience is "not quite" there.
That is not to say that this is in any way a bad record - on the contrary, it is a fine chunk of upbeat London-accented R&B.
It may never make it into the book of "100 Essential Albums That You Must Listen To Or You Are A Duffer", but it has the ability to creep into your ears meaning you'll be singing the songs to yourself for a couple of days (at least).

2016 saw the release of 'Take On Life' with another name change attached, this time adding The Chords UK (to differentiate between the other members of the original band still doing the rounds under The Chords banner).
The Chords / The Chords UK - what's the difference.
Well ,having seen The Chords UK, I can confirm that you get the best of both worlds with Band tracks and solo songs mixed up.
And a cracking performance as well.

One Happy Man

Mutiny On The Thames

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