Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Chantel McGregor - Like No Other

I hear they are bringing back The Old Grey Whistle Test. Well, not really. It'll be a radio version of old recordings from the TV show, with Bob Harris in the presenter's chair. Some of us can even remember Disco Two, OGWT's groundbreaking predecessor. That show played album tracks - there was no presenter but somebody put together a lot of old film together that had been precariously synched with the music, usually with lots of irony, in black and white.

Listening to Chantel McGregor's debut album, Like No Other, you cannot help hearking back to those days of Whispering Bob. Should the programme really come back, I suggest they replace Area Code 615's Stone Fox Chase with Chantel's Cat Song, because the track is brand new, but old as well. In a good way. Cat Song is a stomping instrumental with echoes of Captain Beyond. Should this OGWT return to TV, I can see Chantel McGregor doing her version of Sonny Boy Williamson's Help Me, in the best tradition of Whistle Test stalwarts, Wishbone Ash.

McGregor references the pantheon of the last 40 years of rock, except that, disturbingly, she sounds better. Seeing her play live confonts the audience with the visual dissonance of seeing a nicely attired young lady of 25, belting out rock and roll riffs like she has been doing them since she was a toddler,  and you are tempted to sneak behind the stage to check if it's really Randy California or Alvin Lee or Rory Gallagher. The album, though it sounds like things you knew so many years ago, and among others, it reflects Chantel's liking for Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, it benefits from the kind of clarity and production values that were not around then, so it is just as well that the musicianship and production, laid bare as it is, is first rate.

For anybody to come up with a debut album of this quality and maturity is remarkable. For a young person who was not even born when Rumours was released, it is nothing short of sensational.

I had to think hard to post a track, because the album is eclectic yet also a coherent whole as an album should be. But needs must, and I decided on the one called Fabulous, because it is.

You can read my interview with Chantel Mcgregor HERE, or go to her website for tour dates, etc. http://www.chantelmcgregor.com

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