Bill Champlin - guitar, keyboards, vocals; David Schallock - bass; James Preston - drums; Geoffrey Palmer - keyboards; Terry Haggerty - guitar
In 1997, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland celebrated San Francisco's music scene in the last half of the 1960s and the 30th anniversary of the Summer of Love. They launched their exhibit with a concert, West Coast psychedelic-style: a party at the Fillmore Auditorium featuring some of the original era's top draws at the City's hippie ballrooms. Joining It's A Beautiful Day, Country Joe McDonald and Big Brother & the Holding Co. at this old home week at the Fillmore was a recently reunited Sons of Champlin.
Incorporating a little bit of boogie, blues and soul into their sound, the Sons were formed in the late '60s by keyboardist, guitarist and Oakland native Bill Champlin who joined forces with Terry Haggerty (guitar), John Prosser (bass), Tim Cain (sax) and Jim Myers (drums) to become the Sons of Champlin. Debuting in 1969 with Loosen Up Naturally, they recorded two more albums before disbanding in 1970. Reforming in 1971 and working together until 1977, Champlin put his bluesy growl to good use throughout his long career, eventually lending his gritty vocals to hitmakers Chicago beginning in 1981. But 20 years after his final run with the Sons, a reformed band, with Terry Haggerty still on guitar, was back on the Fillmore stage, loose and lively, sounding like they picked up where they left off.
Hag wails a solo on the steady-rolling swamp-rock "Papa Can Play," while "Everywhere" offers up some soul grooves from Sons-country. They wind up their set with "In the Heat of the Night," a slow blues originally written by Quincy Jones and performed by Champlin for the TV series of the same title.
From this week onward, the Sons were reborn: their first new albums since 1977 were both sourced from concert performances with 1998's Live and 2004's Secret. They followed in 2005 with a new studio album, Hip Lil' Dreams, but the Sons are most at home playing live - and they're especially loose at this hometown gig on familiar turf at the Fillmore.