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Chocolate Thunder - Ear Candy

Self Released

12 tracks

Linda Rodney, aka Chocolate Thunder, is a singer from South Carolina with a high powered voice who exudes lots of electricity. “Ear Candy” is her second self released album, packed with 12 original songs that Rodney wrote. It is available (along with her first album from 2002) on CD Baby. Fans of funk, blues, R&B, soul, jazz and even disco will find something here that appeals to them; she is a talent songwriter and performer with a tight backup band!

She kicks off her set with a funky track called “Love Thang” where she sings about her devotion to her man being driven by her love thing. The keyboard playing a vibraphone sound that really funks this one up fine, but it’s Rodney’s vocals front and center that are the focal point of this and every song. What’s also quite cool is how she has used different instruments on the songs to provide a different coloring and flavoring to the tracks.

Tom Kennedy’s sax work on “Other Side of Memphis” and “Ever New (I Loved You)” have great smooth sax solos along with responses to Linda’s vocal calls. She blends in Rodney Godfrey’s clavinet and the big 70’s styled funked out guitar on tracks like “Love Caused It” to deliver a new take on a retro style of Rick James-like music. And then she uses a jazzy trumpet and a swing guitar sound as a centerpiece on jazzy tracks like “My Georgia Pine”. In “Ain’t Gonna Cry” she brings in all the pieces for a big and funky number. It’s all well done and it’s all so good!

There is a list of players too long to list here (e.g. six background vocalists, three different keyboard, trumpet and guitar players, a couple of drummers and more), but suffice it to say that the sound that they and Rodney create is harmonious and clean. They navigate well from genre to genre and give us a refreshing take on all the soul and funk styles of the last 40 years. But as noted above, what sells this album is Ms. Rodney. She’s got a great set of pipes that can be down and funky, soulful, or bold, brassy and bright. Like Aretha, Koko and all the great singers before her, she can stand up in front of any band and impress a crowd with that voice. Couple that voice with an outstanding set of backup musicians that she has chosen and we have a mighty fine sophomore self release by a talented lady and her band! I recommend you check out Chocolate Thunder at your earliest opportunity!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.

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