Chris Daniels & The Kings
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Chris Daniels & The Kings

Denver, Colorado, United States

Denver, Colorado, United States
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"Stealin The Covers online review"

Wildy’s World Online Reviews
CD Review: Chris Daniels & The Kings - Stealin The Covers

Chris Daniels & The Kings - Stealin The Covers
2008, Moon Voyage Records

Chris Daniels & The Kings have released 10 critically acclaimed albums over a career that spans twenty-five years. Having performed for the Queen of Holland former President Clinton, they've also appeared on VH-1, MuchMusic and Germany's Onhe Filter. They've had two top-5 hits and had their music featured on the television show Men In Trees. Strangely enough you probably don't know who they are. In the words of William Wallace's uncle, we shall have to rectify that.

Chris Daniels & The Kings culled twenty-five years of recording sessions to put together their newest album, Stealin The Covers. This is a collection of cover tunes they've recorded over the years with various guests and the occasional superstar producer. Notable guests include Sonny Landreth (Hiatt, Clapton); Sam Bush (Lyle Lovett); Bill Payne (Little Feat); Steve Conn (Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Loggins); Sam Broussard (Mamou Playboys, Jimmy Buffet); Benmont Treach (Tom Petty) and Steve Riley (Mamou Playboys). Production credits include Al Kooper and Bill Payne, among others. Let's just say you're in for a treat.

Chris Daniels &The Kings play old school rock and roll, American style. Roll Over Beethoven takes the Chuck Berry classic and gives it a Tower Of Power treatment that's unforgettable. Chris Daniels has a soulful rock voice that is perfect for most of the material explored here. The neo-swing of Choo-Choo-Ch' Boogie is worthy of Brian Setzer. Just Kissed My Baby is full of funk and Stax style horn work. Be sure to check out the cajun flavored In The Night, which may just be the best song on the album.

The cover of The Beatles In My Life is sweet and reverent without getting syrupy. Riding With The King is another signature moment on Stealin The Covers; Chris Daniels and The Kings rip this one up with unbridled glee. Other highlights include Crosstown Traffic; the Louis Prima class Sing, Sing, Sing and a classy Cool Yule.

Chris Daniels & The Kings show us master showmen sounds like on Stealin' The Covers. It is one thing to find your sound on your own material, but as an artist the ability to interpret and own material written by others is in some ways a more difficult talent to master. It is the mark of great musicians and a great showman to make the transition from songwriter to interpreter of the American Songbook. Chris Daniels & The Kings make the transition capably and leave us with an unforgettable collection of pop musical memorabilia. Stealin' The Covers is a gem.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

- Wildy's World online reviews


"Stealin' The Covers Review"

Chris Daniels & the Kings - Stealin' the Covers (2008)

The Music Buzz
by Chris K. Date Added: Friday 01 August, 2008

There’s only a few brand new songs on Chris Daniels and the Kings’ 11th album, but that’s really not the point – it’s totally worth having for any newcomer or even self-respecting fan of funky blues, horn-band swing and rock ‘n roll swagger. And it’s fantastic for anyone who needs a solid primer of the Kings sound. The lineup, representing various previous lineups from throughout the Kings twenty-five year run, includes a blues-blood who’s who: Bill Payne (Little Feat), Sonny Landreth (John Hiatt), Al Kooper (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Benmont Tench (Heartbreakers) and more. The songs were culled from each of the previous ten albums, with a few exceptions including the radio friendly track, “Just Kissed My Baby.” This is, in Chris’ own words, “a compilation of hits for fans who have been requesting or covers for years now.” Being a fan myself, I can definitely appreciate the effort - now - and from throughout the past twenty-five years. Bravo Mr. Daniels - and the Kings. Thanks for all the great tunes!

- The Music Buzz


"Reviews for The Spark"

August 2004
DANIELS,CHRIS - THE SPARK -
By Paul Epstein, Twist & Shout Magazine

There is great debate about what exactly the “Colorado Sound” is. If you go to the Snake Pit or The Church on a Friday night, you would swear it is dance music. If you go to a Cephalic Carnage show you might think it was severe metal that defined our fair state. Chris Daniels has seen trends come and go throughout his many years as Colorado’s most employed musician, and his new album, Spark shows him to be the real arbiter of the Colorado sound. This album proves why Daniels has remained a top concert draw throughout the years. He is a fine songwriter, making upbeat music designed to make people happy. He succeeds. Joined by such friends as Bill Payne of Little Feat, Richie Furay, Tony Furtado, Sonny Landreth, Sam Bush, Mollie O’Brien and Hazel Miller, Daniels and the always red-hot Kings deliver a masterful set of tunes that sets a new standard of recording sophistication in Daniel’s career. Every detail of the album, from the recording to the packaging to the highly detailed arrangements just drip with the kind of professionalism only years of dues-paying can produce. Daniels is creating music in a tradition that will be familiar to any longtime Colorado resident. It’s the stuff that KBCO used to be known for-intelligent singer/songwriter material-irony in hand- with hints of Blues, Bluegrass and Funk. The kind of music Little Feat and David Bromberg and John Prine made, and the type that causes people to smile as they head for the dance floor. Obviously, no one type of music is “Colorado Music” but Chris Daniels’ new album will prove a joy to many music fans in Colorado. The limited edition matchbook packaging is super cool, and worth getting down here soon to pick up before they go to standard jewel box packaging.
-Paul Epstein
Denver Post
Chris Daniels: Keeping it fresh (Longtime Colorado bandleader knows the secret to success is to diversify) By G. Brown

Friday, August 08, 2003 - Anyone who has lived in Colorado for more than a few months and hasn't heard of Chris Daniels & The Kings needs to get out more.

For nearly 20 years, Daniels and his band have entertained local music fans with a souped-up mix of jump blues, blue-eyed soul and horn-infused rock. The Kings have also earned something of a worldwide fan base, especially in the Netherlands, where they've even coaxed the nation's queen to shake her royal booty.

In addition to making great music, Daniels has played a hefty role in shaping the Front Range music scene. The Mile High mainstay spent five years as executive director of the Swallow Hill Music Association, which promotes folk and acoustic music in Denver, and oversaw the group's 1998 move to its new theater/classroom complex on East Yale Avenue. He currently teaches three courses at Arapahoe Community College, including history of jazz. And he also gives private lessons.

"In 1987, the Kings were on the road, driving around the country in a couple of vans," Daniels explained recently. "To stay sane, I started listening to books on tape. I liked history, so I enrolled at CU to get my master's degree, sort of a correspondence course.

"I studied the various people throughout history who were not trapped by their circumstances, who kept going farther. You can also see it in music, but one of the most painful stories is people who got into doing one thing and it reached some pinnacle of success, and from that point on they had to keep recreating it. It's tough for all the bands out there with one original member selling memories.

"So I looked at those examples and tried to diversify. It's always been an adventure. There's an old saying - when you hit a wall, turn left!"

Daniels is shown in his most flattering form on his new CD, "The Spark." He's delivered a wonderful set, joined by such friends as Bill Payne of Little Feat, Richie Furay, Tony Furtado, Sonny Landreth, Sam Bush, Mollie O'Brien and Hazel Miller, as well as the always red-hot Kings.

The official CD-release show is at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood on Saturday (with blues legend John Mayall sharing the bill).

To others, Daniels is an inspiration for having lived his dream for so long, battling the obvious obstacles of survival in the cruel music business.

"He's a perennial," said Tim Duffy, another veteran of the Denver-Boulder scene. "He's always working because he's never disappointed an audience. He's not an old (expletive) at all - it's always fresh. An endless supply of creativity is behind that."

"He put Denver on the map," added Miller, a Denver blues-soul singer. "He's been in the trenches longer than any of us. He's the fairy godfather our scene - he will help anybody at anytime with anything that's within his power.

"When you go see him, you can't sit there and be untouched," Miller said. "You have to get into it, because he's so into it. It's probably one of your best investments of the year - right about now, it's better than the stock market!"

Originally from Minneapolis, Daniels moved to New York City as a teenager, where he worked as a backing musician for singer David Johansen, later a founder of the glam-rock band the New York Dolls. He relocated to Colorado in 1971 and served a stint in the group Magic Music.

"We did the hippie jam-band thing - Leftover Salmon before there was a Leftover Salmon," Daniels recalled. "We lived in school buses and a doughnut truck in Eldorado Canyon. We had two acoustic guitars, a flute, bass and percussion, usually tablas. The songs had a lot of elves, druids and fairies in them. We had all kinds of brushes with fame."

Magic Music held its own in local clubs and was often booked at the Good Earth with the funky Freddi-Henchi Band.

"Back then, it worked," Daniels said. "The hippies would get all blissed out and mellow with Magic Music, then Freddi-Henchi would take the stage and everyone would get the soul shakes."

Daniels left the area to earn a degree in music theory, then returned as a member of Spoons, an influential Boulder country-rock band. In the early '80s, he toured with former Amazing Rhythm Aces frontman Russell Smith, who lived in Boulder at the time.

In May 1984, Daniels formed a rhythm & blues horn band as a one-night joke at the old Blue Note in Boulder. Almost two decades later, Chris Daniels & The Kings have produced nine albums, toured worldwide and remained a top local concert draw.

"We wanted to do anything with horns," said Daniels of the Kings' post-new-wave genesis. "Everybody thought it was real cool, and they'd say, 'What's that stuff?' But it's really a love affair with what happens with horns. One of the things we did was push the hard rock 'n' roll sound with horns, which no one had ever done before."

After building a following on the local circuit, the Kings hit the road and built loyal regional audiences in such places as Nashville, Minneapolis and New York, even parts of Europe. The group was the first Colorado act to release a recording in the CD configuration and land hits on many of the Triple A (adult-rock) stations around the U.S.

Daniels deserves credit for keeping a big band together. "The guys that I work with are phenomenal - every one of them is a more accomplished musician than I ever will be, and I don't say that to be patronizing," he said. "I have to work to keep up with them. They keep up with this incredibly grueling schedule - we do over 160 dates a year, and that's tough. They somehow pull it off.

"But you have to keep the business side together in order to get the kudos. If you don't get up in the morning and get on the phone, you don't get to go to Europe. A lot of musicians figure that they'll put all that work into practicing and getting good at their instrument and that should be enough. And sadly, these days, it's not. You have to be a jack of all trades."

The Kings' upbeat music is designed to make people smile as they head for the dance floor, and they succeeded on 1998's "Louie Louie," a collection of jump blues and swing done in tribute to Louis Jordan, Louis Prima and Louis Armstrong.

But on "The Spark," Daniels trades his trademark Stratocaster for an acoustic guitar, horn-based music for intelligent singer-songwriter material with hints of blues, bluegrass and funk.

"Scott Roche, Ed Kaufman and Kip Kuepper at Coupe Studios in Boulder hire me to do vocal and guitar jingle work," Daniels said. "As I started the record a year and a half ago, they said, 'Chris, you play acoustic guitar, but you don't do that on your records. Why not?' Sometimes it's the obvious things .

"I had stopped writing for the Kings, mostly because Dave Steen and Gary Nicholson were doing such a ... good job of it, great R&B. So I went and wrote an album."

Daniels also invited an A-team of pals and nationally recognized musicians to help light up "The Spark," a masterful collection of tunes.

The title track, which features Sam Bush and Tony Furtado driving an acoustic funk groove, might be the finest song about reaching a mature peak since John Hiatt's "Slow Turning." "Biggest Heartache On The Block" is a sassy breakup duet with Mollie O'Brien getting the last word: "All you gotta do is learn to live alone, maybe get yourself a Labrador to tell your troubles to." On "If I'd Only Taken You Dancing," Bill Payne's piano and Furtado's slide guitar weave magic.

Every detail, from the recording to the limited-edition matchbook packaging, drips with professionalism. And Daniels makes it sound like there'll be many more years as Colorado's most employed musician.

"There are three records I want to do in the next couple of years. One is 'Louie Louie 2,' a jump-swing record like 'Louie Louie' but taking it to Texas, more Bob Wills kind of swing, do it as Chris Daniels & The Sky Kings.

"I also want to do a straight-up blues record with the Kings, record it almost live in the studio. Already, 'The Spark' has been warped, gone in a completely different direction since we've played it live. That happens when you play as many gigs as we do.

"And I keep writing - once I got the bug, it bit hard. A lot of that stuff is very acoustic. So I want to do that Jack Johnson thing with standup bass and drums.

"You know, in all my spare time!"

Chris Daniels and the Kings
rounded up the guest stars for new album
By Matt Sebastian, Camera Music Writer
August 8, 2003

With six bandmates, going into the studio already is a cramped proposition for Denver's Chris Daniels. So how did the Kings' bandleader find himself with a whopping 19 guests jammed onto his ninth album?

It certainly wasn't Daniels' original plan for The Spark. "It really started out strictly as a Kings record about a year and a half ago," Daniels says. "But then our record company went belly-up, so we had to rethink the whole process. We knew it was going to take longer, and, as it unfolded, a lot of the songs were really looking for different sounds. They were looking for Sam Bush, or they really needed Sonny Landreth's slide guitar."

Daniels — who, with the Kings, plays the Boulder County Fair tonight — also recruited the likes of Richie Furay, Tony Furtado and Hazel Miller to lend their talents to the album's dozen cuts.

"My favorite moment on the record is my duet with Mollie O'Brien," Daniels says. "That song ('Biggest Heartache on the Block') started out as a real guy thing, but we made it into this little conversation, sort of John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn looking at each other in this old saloon, saying, 'You know you're gonna miss me when I'm gone,' and, 'No, you're gonna miss me when I'm gone.'"

The Spark, which hit stores this week, is another classy collection from the horn-backed jump-blues band, featuring tender country-style ballads and rootsy, funk-influenced rockers. It's also a showcase for Daniels' acoustic guitar playing, something he admits he's neglected.

"That had a lot do with the guys at Coupe Studios up in Boulder, where we recorded," Daniels says. "I'd been up there a lot playing acoustic guitar on commercials they were recording, so they said, 'You know, you always play acoustic guitar for us, but never on your records.' They said, 'You ought to do that on your record.' So I thought, 'Yeah, maybe I will.'"

With the album finally out, Daniels and the Kings are playing a number of Colorado dates before heading to Europe for the band's 11th trek across the continent. Like fellow Coloradans 16 Horsepower and the Czars, Daniels seems to draw larger crowds overseas.

"Europe is kind of a funny thing," Daniels says. "Back in 1989, Al Kooper produced a record for us, and we put a piece of artwork on the cover by the guy that did Frank Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Somehow, it wound up in some catalog in Europe, and the head of a record company got a hold of it because he liked the artwork.

"So he listens to the record, and calls me at 2 o'clock in the morning in Boulder and said, 'I want to sign you to my record company,'" Daniels recounts. "I thought it was a joke, but turns out it was the real deal."

Although Daniels got his start playing the Big Apple with the New York Dolls' David Johansen, the Kings came together in Boulder for what was supposed to be a one-off performance in 1984.

"I think Boulder is a remarkable town when you think about all the bands that got their start there," Daniels says. "At the time we got together, the Boulder Theater was empty; it was between owners. So we rehearsed in the theater because we'd been hired to do this one-night gig at an old club on the Pearl Street Mall called the Blue Note.

"We played this one night, and people just went nuts," he recalls. "We did a lot of Louis Jordan, some old tunes by a band called Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, some of my tunes, and stuff by Tower of Power and Little Feat. "People went crazy for it."

Soon that one-off show turned into a full-time affair, and, nine albums later, Daniels isn't looking back.

"We're very lucky," he says. "You know, it's funny. Boulder was such an amazing place to start a band. It was an amazing time. Big Head Todd was getting started, and future members of Leftover Salmon were hanging around playing clubs. It was just such a great time."
Contact Matt Sebastian at (303) 473-1498 or sebastianm@dailycamera.com.

Billboard: Grass Route..... by Bruce Haring
Horning in: Breathes there a man or woman with a soul so dead as to never have craved a fix of good, old-fashioned, honest-to-God live horns?
Colorado's Chris Daniels and his seven cohorts (aka The Kings) is one of the few acts with enough brass in its gorgonzolas to hit the road as a full-fledged horn band. And the strange thing is, they're making money while doing it.

- Paul Epstien, Twist & Shout


Discography

Has Anyone Seen My Keys?
When You're Cool
That's What I Like About the South
In Your Face
Is My Love Enough
Live Wired
Louie Louie
Choice Cuts
The Spark
10
Stealin' The Covers (new fall 2008)
"Just Kissed My Baby" is the "focus" track for internet and A3 radio.

Photos

Bio

Chris Daniels & the Kings played their first show on March 14, 1984. The seven piece rockin' band, called "funky-blues" by the Europeans, is an all out "horn band" celebrating their 24th year of making great R&B, Funk, Jump Blues, and Rock 'n Roll. They have been compared to "Little Feat with horns" and "John Hiatt meets Tower of Power." Since '91, the band has made a name for themselves touring Europe: playing for the Queen of Holland at the 50 Year VE Day Celebration and for 450,000 people at Parkpop in Den Hague. They have had number one hits in Holland with their critically acclaimed CDs: Stealin' The Covers, 10, The Spark, Is My Love Enough, That's What I Like About The South, In Your Face, When You’re Cool, Choice Cuts, Live Wired and Louie Louie. Chris Daniels & the Kings have toured over two continents and have been asked to appear in such diverse places as The Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, South America, Japan, and all over Europe. Chris has appeared with B.B. King, Uncle Cracker, Blues Traveler, The Neville Brothers, Delbert McClinton, Sister Hazel, Sheryl Crow, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Al Kooper, Bonnie Raitt, Ziggy Marley, The Fixx, to name only a few. They have been headliners on international festivals including the Ribs & Blues Festival with their buddies The Bluesmasters, at Marktrock, Berchem Blues, and the Lokeren festivals in Belgium. Chris & the Kings have also served as the back up band for Sonny Landreth at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, David Bromberg at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Al Kooper in LA at the Roxey, Bo Diddly all over the place, Francine Reed at the Denver Blues Festival and Dutch guitarist Jan Rijbroek in Paris. They also played back up for Bonnie Raitt, members of Little Feat, and Was Not Was at the Roxey in LA.