Sons of Champlin - Loosen Up Naturally (1969)

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It's tough when your band's bio begins like this:

"Definitely not in the top tier of the San Francisco pyschadelic scene with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane..."

Ooof. 

But that's kind of not fair. Because these guys sound NOTHING like either of those bands. I mean, there's definitely some weird, trippy, "psychadelic" guitar solos in here, but these guys have a horn section. Like, a prominent horn section. I mean, in every song.

The Sons of Champlin, to me, sound like an R&B band that got dropped into that Haight/Ashbury scene and was like, "OK, we'll add some of that stuff too." Which translates into....well, just a lot going on.

Take, for example, the lead-off track, "1982-A," whose very first lyrics warn you about the rest of the album. "Can you feel it coming? It's gonna set you back on your heels..." I know the term "wall of sound" gets thrown around a lot, but throw these lyrics on top of some blaring horns, pounding bass, and driving keyboards, and it's a lot to deal with. 

Thankfully, the Sons lighten things up here and there throughout the album. Most notably with the goof-off track "Don't Fight It, Do It!" which could have been featured on a Dr. Demento compilation.
Since Loosen Up Naturally isn't available to stream, I'll leave you with a bonus track - this is "Misery Isn't Free," which has a nice R&B chorus that wouldn't be out of place as the theme song to a seventies sitcom. It also contains the titular lyrics of the album, which makes you know that the band thought this song was super-awesome.
Overall, this album sounds just a little too dated for me to enjoy it very often. You have to be in the mood for both driving R&B as well as a touch of psychadelia. And that's not a mix I have a hankering for too often. But maybe I should just loosen up, naturally.
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3.5 / 5 Dads

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3 / 5 Sons

Chris
11/8/2018 03:43:00 am

Nelson R.R. Walters, will we never find out how this record collection ends!? I mean, I'm sorry, I know you need to move at your own pace, but after 5 years, my discussion group and I honestly feel like we deserve an update.

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