Well-named, this album, and Christchurch’s Li’l Chuck is more than just a one-man skiffle machine.
He’s a one-man skiffle, jazz, blues, rock and folk machine – but there isn’t enough room to write all of that on the front of his kick drum. The drum kit might be cut down in components, but it keeps good time, and ‘good time’ music is what Li’l Chuck is all about.
There’s fabulous harmonica playing, and fantastic guitar playing too, with styles varying across the album to keep things exciting.
Dave Thorpe‘s powerful vocals are similarly impressive. It’s astounding that the sound is all generated by Li’l Chuck and no-one else.
On Stick It In Your Pipe And Smoke It he comes across as a skiffly Woody Guthrie. Heartache, Heartbreak kicks off with a Sun Studios-style slapback-drenched wail, then proceeds into more skiffle-centric territory with a whistled lead break, followed by some top-notch harping. There’s tasty slide guitar on display in Whiskey And Ginger, reminiscent of old-school blues greats. Honey Leave Your Porch Light On gives you a blast of effervescent skiffle energy.
Not many one-man bands display this level of quality, Li’l Chuck is as rootsy and authentic as an old kauri tree. He’s all the skiffle machine you’ll ever need.