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Loving Is Why

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Album Review

On their sixth album, 1976's A Circle Filled with Love, the Sons of Champlin sounded ready for a commercial breakthrough on the order of the Average White Band, playing funky R&B, and they got halfway up the singles chart with "Hold On." But they didn't manage anything as successful as Boz Scaggs' Silk Degrees or Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music," to cite music in the same vein. Loving Is Why, their seventh album, boasts more commercial-sounding blue-eyed soul, such as the lead-off track and first single "Saved by the Grace of Your Love," but it also has a somewhat valedictory tone, notably heard in several ballads penned by lead singer Bill Champlin. "Time Will Bring You Love," "Love Can Take Me Now," and, especially, "Where I Belong" are set to acoustic guitar-plus-strings arrangements over which Champlin, usually a gruff-voice blues singer, croons introspectively. The band's old forays into jazz improvisation and spacy psychedelic rock are gone now, but Champlin's ballads suggest a new direction toward sophisticated adult contemporary pop/rock. They also have a wistful tone. More than ever, a band that struggled to sound like a group of equals despite Champlin's frontman abilities sounds like a showcase for him, and he sounds like he might be ready to try something new.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s

The Sons of Champlin did not rank in the first tier of the San Francisco psychedelic rock bands of the '60s with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, but they did qualify for the second tier along with Moby Grape and Quicksilver Messenger Service, playing a more soul- and R&B-influenced style of music than their peers. Despite a somewhat lackadaisical attitude...
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Loving Is Why, Sons of Champlin
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