Chris Murray- Slackness

(c) 2007 Unstrictly Roots
Rating: ★★★★☆

I have to start by telling you that I've been anticipating this release for quite some time and because I'm a fan, this may come across as a bit biased.  For the unaware among us, Slackness is a collaborative project between Chris Murray and The Slackers.  I'll have to admit I was taken a bit by surprise with Slackness.  I wasn't sure what to expect, so let me tell you what I got.  12 great tracks of the heart and soul of ska.  The recording offers up a smorgasboard of ska reggae and roots, some old and some new.  Slackness starts with a great cover of "Janie Jones" and into a more traditional Chris sounding track that appears to be co-written with Dan Potthast of Mu330 fame. (admittedly I'm assuming here based on the writing credits.)  The CD continues into a few remakes of older Chris songs with the added twist of being backed by The Slackers, one of the hardest working bands in ska today.  I particularly enjoy "Rastaman Rock", a tuffed up version of the original.  The tracks close with a ironically upbeat war protest song entitled, "Why We Go To War".  I guess this is like the magical moment when someone got their peanut butter on someone else's chocolate.  If you've ever wondered what Chris would sound like backed up by a full band of the caliber of the Slackers, give Slackness a whirl.  Out now on Unstrictly Roots  In closing, you can tell that Chris Murray is totally OG … Check that freakin' bling homie!

–Jerry Actually

Satori – Savor Every Moment

(c) 2005 Asian Man Records
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Comprised of the Rx Bandits with guest spots by Chris Murray and members of The Exit, is the outfit known as Satori. “Savor Every Moment” is their debut album out now on Asian Man Records. I insist that you do, in fact, savor every moment of this CD. All the elements of Dub, Rock Steady Reggae and Ska are artfully combined to create a soulful and soothing record. I’ve listened to “Savor Every Moment” about 4x in a row now and I’m still interested and still discovering new hooks and melodies. There are striking similarities to Sublime and Long Beach Dub All-stars. However, where as the aforementioned bands seem a little locked into 1 style, Satori runs the gambit of Jamaican musical styles as well as displaying R&B influences. The songs often recall the likes of Skatalites and early Wailers, yet infused with modern tones and beats, an dI’m not kidding when I say that these guys have some serious Stevie influence. “Savor Every Moment” is a beautifully restored classic car, refined with modern luxury appointments. Truly a must have disc for all fans of Jamaican music. As a bonus, check out the bands website for an audio stream of the first 3 tracks off of the CD.

http://www.satoriband.net
http://www.asianmanrecords.com

–Jerry Actually

Chris Murray – 4-Trackaganza

(c) 2001 Asian Man Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

I first heard of Chris Murray, AKA Venice Shoreline Chris about 6 years ago. forgive me for not being aware of King Apparatus… But none the less I was at a show in Lawrence Kansas at the Grenada, with a lineup of Venice Shoreline Chris, Less than Jake and Skavoovie and the Epitones. Chris Murray impressed the hell out of me with his "Campfire Ska" and on top of his opening set he played keyboards for Skavoovie. Damn, what a show. I was quite pleased when I learned that Chris was going to put a new acoustic album out, and it does not disappoint. I think the true brilliance of Chris Murray is exemplified in this album. from cleverly constructed lyrics to rich melodies. This CD is a perfect companion on a rainy Portland day. You can listen to track 3 "California Time" and feel the sun shine in. I gave this disc a 5, which I rarely if ever will do. But when you combine the excellent singing and song writing with the fact that it is all done on a four track, the points really stack up in it's favor. Go get this disk!! www.chrismurray.net

–Jerry Actually