Ask any true westcoast collector about their top 10 albums or artists in general, and BILL CHAMPLIN will be on the list. It´s not strange at all. This legendary musician has been hired for sessions as a keyboard player, lead vocalist, background vocalist and arranger, yes even guitar player for decades by top artists and bands all over the world.
So here we are with his first solo album in 13 years. Personally I think it is a true shame we had to wait this long, but on the other hand: better this album than no more releases at all. Following up the great "He started to sing" CD from 1995, this new CD takes Bill to a more straight-down-to-Earth sound and more rootsy production. This may take some time to get used to if you are more of the modern CHICAGO fan, rather than a fan of for example THE SONS OF CHAMPLIN. But you need not worry. As always BILL CHAMPLIN delivers catchy melodies, groove, awesome lead and harmony vocals and - maybe most important of all: real instruments all the way. This really feels genuine, which is something you can´t say about many releases these days. Champlin always manages to catch the listener´s attention with the beat within the songs, or the crisp and always in-pitch voice that has got so many personalities.
OK, a few of the songs need to be mentioned before this review gets too lengthy. "The truth" is in the same style as some of the "He started to sing" tunes, while the title track "No place left to fall" is more CHICAGO than Bill Champlin stylewise. A very good song in soft rock/AOR mode and mid-tempo. It´s easily one of the best songs here. Also check out "Never been afraid" which is a semi-ballad very much in the same style and sound as was found on the "Stone of Sisyphos" album by CHICAGO. There´s not a weak song here, and even the rather acoustic version of "Look away" (originally on the CHICAGO "19" album) is simply awesome. The CD contains 13 songs with all the CHAMPLIN trade marks that you can ask for. As if this wasn´t enough, you also get a DVD included with 70 minutes of talks and music. Talk about a price-worthy product!
Among the musicians on the CD we find Steve Lukather, Billy Ward, George Hawkins Jr, Bruce Gaitsch, Will Champlin and Keith Howland.