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Chris Thomas King
While My Guitar Screams & Moans
21st Century Blues
www.21cbrecords.com


Initially known for merging blues and hip-hop, Chris Thomas King was truly an innovator. His rap was heartfelt and genuine. However, like most [established] artists, he has evolved. Yet, with a hybrid of heavy riffs on top of classic rock anthems, Thomas's music has become more akin to a Lenny Kravitz cover act than anything original. Straight out of the gate, King plagiarizes Kravitz's hard driving guitar heavy sound on "Starr". He covers the landmark Prince song "Kiss" uneventfully, as his version sticks a little too close to the original. He briefly returns to his roots with fusion of blues and soft-core rap on "Legend", and while the message attempts to be socially conscious it is a cliché of life in the ghetto touching on everything from drugs to teen pregnancy. "The Scream" is a three and a half minute guitar solo which unsuccessfully attempts to channel Jimi Hendrix, and is annoying rather than artistic. This is not to say there aren't any bright spots on the disc, there are - but they are few and far between. "A Song For Mama" encompasses a heartfelt gospel sentiment which is pure and emotive. Chris Thomas King finally flirts with some straight blues on "Down", with a full horn section which harkens back to classic B.B. King. This is immediately followed by the guitar fueled dirty blues composition "Wicked". Unfortunately, the remainder of While My Guitar Screams & Moans is filler with little or no merit.

-Tony Engelhart

Track Listing:

1. Starr
2. Action (Interlude)
3. Kiss
4. Legend
5. A Song for Mama
6. King Snake
7. Juke Joint Lover
8. Louisiana Party
9. Come Home Tonight
10. Down
11. Wicked
12. Scream
13. Cracked


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