“Chips & Chitlins” is a collaboration between Amp Fiddler’s former bass player Paul Randolph and UK-based producer Zed Bias. At this point, the album is exclusively available online through such retailers as Juno Music, Amazon and iTunes Japan. No comment on how the album made it to this particular reviewer’s iTunes library though! Perhaps the actual disc will get purchased somewhere down the line. For now, here’s a track-by-track review of “Chips & Chitlins.” That doesn’t sound like a good combination, though. We all know what chips are, but chitlins are pig’s guts. Gross!
Surrender: Very smooth, laid back opening cut. The Fender Rhodes piano just glides all over the track. Mr Randolph says his senses are elevated to ten. Clearly he’s in a great mood. He’s surrendering to love and joy. The chorus is kind of catchy as well, “that will be all right with me.” Yep, definitely all right with me as well. So far so good.
Said Too Much: Randolph’s chant of “You said so, you said so” conjures images of Bob Marley singing “Lively Up Yourself.” Most likely that was not the intention, however it’s what this here listener sees in his mind. Unlike Bob’s song, this song is a scathing attack on somebody who is talking too loudly: “You opened up your mouth and the words came tumbling out… do you ever hear yourself? Ever mind what you say?” Whoever that was directed towards should be ashamed of themselves… or maybe it was just made up?
Didn’t Yo Mama: Up next is a much more uptempo house tune that thumps for over a minute. This one is not as laid back as the previous two songs, the beat is a bit more in your face so to speak. The lyrics don’t come in till about two minutes and nineteen seconds: “There’s always someone who will fake and take the cool. Now didn’t your mama tell you?” He refers to himself as “Funky Detroit Brother” in this tune. Exactly! That’s the best damn part of the song.
Missconfuse: Randolph sings this one in a much deeper voice, which is seemingly about a woman who made him feel trapped even though she already seduced him and scratched her nails down his back. She sounds pretty catty. It’s an appropriately named song, unless of course, he were to name it “Miss Complete B.” The beat is definitely a lot harder as well on this tune, so it definitely calls for a different type of lead vocal.
Sexy Tone: Randolph is joined on this next track by a female singer only identified as “Jenna G.” Turns out she’s from Manchester, England. Musically, this song has an almost tribal beat behind it which is pretty cool. On the misheard lyrics tip, I thought she was saying “you know I’m grown” which would not have made very much sense given that the correct one is, “Addictive personality takes over me, you know I’m PRONE.” Randolph replies by asking if she can over take him and make him moan. Quite suggestive… but who is complaining, right? Any man would have that reaction.
Drop: The beat on this track is definitely a lot harder hitting. The keyboard riff is somewhat twisted and it creates a “boing” type of sound. Perhaps they were trying to create something similar to what Bernie Worrell was doing in Parliament/Funkadelic. If so they were successful. There’s also something about this song that is slightly reminiscent of that eighties dance sound, right before it became “house” as we know it today.
Invitation: No, we’re not being invited to a party, in this case, somebody is being invited to reinvention, or rejuvenation if you will: “What’s with you? You look tired you look through. Missing too is the swagger in your cool.” Randolph and the crew are here to “help you get it back, set you free get that monkey off your back.” Why would you refuse this invitation? Again he’s singing deeper this time around. If there were ever any doubts that there were any live drums being played on this track, scroll on over to 3:47. Now that is a killer drum solo.
Temperature’s Ah Risin’: Essentially Mr Randolph is talking about some girl leading him on, or stalling him as he says. She’s giving him the impression that she’s interested in hooking up, but much to his dismay, it’s not really like that. In turn this is causing his temperature to rise. Which of course has nothing to do with your body temperature rising when you are ill. Cool track though.
Move: There might be a time in your life where you’re just having a bad day, or you might see something on the news that makes you feel down, but rather than choosing to dwell on all the negative emotions, you instead decide that you’re going to be happy and thankful that you are alive in the first place. Admittedly, Randolph’s opening command of: “Move! Yo! Move” sounded a little harsh at first, but once you understand where he’s coming from, it doesn’t seem that way at all. Basically, he wants to have a bit of room to move…. and breathe.
Got Your Number: Definitely quite an uplifting and inspiring song from Zed Bias and Paul Randolph: “I’ve got your number, I’ve got your tune, I’ve got your number you’ll pull through.” Check out the way he sings, “I’ve got your tune,” he’s literally creating tune, putting a real emphasis on the melody. “Past is not future leave it behind.” Ain’t that the truth? Great words to live by. No doubt.
Mighty Love: One more uplifting tune for the road. Randolph begins this one by reminiscing on when he was a loner and how he thought he was going to just “love them and leave them,” but now that he’s older, he realises that he needs love. For real. Earlier on he described himself as a “Funky Detroit Brother.” He further proves the point when he starts scatting over the house beat. Dope!!!
Verdict: Overall it’s quite a good album from Paul Randolph & Zed Bias. It’s such a shame it hasn’t been given a wider release. Then again this is not exactly music for Justin Beiber fans, this is underground house music!!