Memphis Gold | Prodigal Son

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Prodigal Son

by Memphis Gold

Sanctified Beale Street Urban Gutbuket Blues
Genre: Blues: Funky Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Come Wit Me
5:32 $0.99
2. Don`t Let Her Ride
3:13 $0.99
3. Crabcakes
4:09 $0.99
4. Big Leg woman
6:22 $0.99
5. Prodigal Son
4:18 $0.99
6. Chicken It
3:40 $0.99
7. 3` S Tonic
6:26 $0.99
8. Preacher Blues
4:08 $0.99
9. Test Drive That Woman
3:59 $0.99
10. Serves Me Right
9:40 $0.99
11. Melt Down Baby
3:51 $0.99
12. Bedroom Mumba
5:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Memphis Gold Bio

Memphis Gold has come a long way in his 20 year tenure in the Mid Atlantic, including the crownig achievement of recording 3 CD`s. He has shared the stage with such Artist as Bernard Allison, Beat Daddys, James Brown, R.L. Burnside, Big Lucky Carter, Debra Coleman, Shemeika Copland, Robert Cray, Eddie Cusak, Dwayne Doopsie, John Hammond, John Jackson, Junior Kimbrough, Little Jimmy King, Johnny Lang, Taj Mahal, Selena McDay, Bob Margolan, Bobby Parker, Lucky Peterson, Little Jimmy Reed, Martha Reeves, Duke Robillard, Jimmie lee Robinson, Roomful of Blues, Otis Rush, Charlie Sayles, Guitar Shorty, Mavis Staples, Hubert Sumlin, The Temptations and Jimmy Vaughn.

Chester Chandler, aka (Memphis Gold) was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 4, 1955. Chester was the thirteenth child of fourteen, born to John and Reada Chandler. John his father and also a musician, played the bass fiddle and piano in the Church of God in Christ- where at the tender age of 4, Chester was first introduced to the guitar. Chester was quickly recognized as a promising musician, by the age of 8, he was a regular at Beale Street in Memphis, where he played the guitar and danced for pocket change from the crowd.

As a young boy age 12, he was mentored by the 1928-35 Victor/Brunswick/Vocalion
Recording Artist, The Reverend Robert "Tim "Wilkins. Wilkins major claim to fame was the tune "That`s No Way To Get Along," which was appropriated by the Rolling Stones in 1966 and released as "Prodigal Son" on the best selling album Beggars Banquet.

Nevertheless, I`m happy to report that, No, Memphis Gold did not tell me that he sold his soul to the devil down at the "crossroads" of highway 49and 61 in order to play like the guitar wizard that he is,"says Larry Benicewicz of the Music Monthly/Maryland Musician. "He is the genuine article, perhaps a thowback to the blues men of yore who learned their licks at the knee of legendary partriarch like Charlie Patton. And having done so, serves as one of the last links to the days when cotton was king on the Mississippi Delta." Also, in February of 1996, Chester Chandler rescued 9 children from a train crash in Silver Springs, Md., which was coming from the Harpers Ferry Job Corps, West Virginia. Ironically he, had performed a blues seminar for the children several months before. Chester Chandler aka (Memphis Gold) has appeared on the Leeza Show, NBC Dateline, and the Discovery Channel for his heroic effects.We would love to share our great entertainment with a performance at your festival or venue. please see:

Memphis Gold Cd Review
By Ron Weinstock D.C. Blues Society

It was grafying seeing Memphis Gold at this past summer`s Pocono blues Festival. having seen Chester Chandler perform at long gone venues like Smokehouse blue, as well as his band with Charlie sayles with their regular gigs at J Vs and being regulars when Whitlows on Wilson first opened, one has to admire how he and his band has matured. At the time of the festival he gave me an advance copy of his self-produced cd, The Prodigal Son, which is being released imminently. Comprised mostly of originals it includes his regular band with guest appearance by Phil Wiggins on harp and Pete Ragusa on Drums a track or two, and several tracks of the late Willie Hicks on them. Anyone who has seen Memphis Knows how much soul he brings to his performances and his Memphis influences go beyond the late Reverend Robert Wilkins and other influences of his youth. Certainly, the stax sounds underlies some of his songs like his evocation of Don`t make your move to soon on the opening Come Wit Me, with its funky tempo and groove. Its not surprising to see folks filing to the floor and when he takes his guitar solo on this, It does not slow things up one bit . They avoid hurrying the tempo too much on the shuffle, Don`t Let Her Ride , which I believe was previously recorded by James Peterson, and has a nice piano solo and raw acoustic before Memphis Gold takes the tune out. After the hot racetrak groove on Crabcakes, the tempo slows down for Big Leg Woman with more fluid fretwork. The title track, Prodigal Son , is not the song by his mentor, Rev Robert Wilkins, but has a similar theme about a wondering blues man heading home set against the melody of the classic 44 Blues . Then there is a instrumental Chicken It , with a riff that suggest Howlin Wolf`s Killing Floor ( and some nice harp), Preacher Blues , where he talks about bringing his shotgun to church with a driving solos, and the humorous bit of double entendre on Test Drive That Woman and the longest track, Serves Me Right, is a terrific slow blues as pleads to his lady that he wants to come back home. I had not listen to this in a couple months, but hearing it again I was struck how good this is. I should point out that I am among those who are thanked in the credits (reflecting my long friendship with Mr. Chester Chandler), I am just so gratified to have a friend produce the best local electric blues cd since Bobby Parker`s two disc for Black Top. It is that good . I am sure you will be hearing this WPFW and you should check out for information on purchasing this superb cd. CD Baby, Right on Rythm Records and Local Tower Records have



to write a review

Howard Rye /Blues and Rhythm magazine london England

I already bought the record (from CD Baby) before Blues & Rhythm asked me to do a review, and fell in love with it straightaway.

It's a great relief to know the sax player is a real musician. I kept thinking, well, you can do incredible things with keyboards these days, but that still sounds like a guy blowing to me!

All best wishes,

Reviewer: Mick Rainsford

Memphis Gold - Prodigal Son

Chet Chandler aka Memphis Gold is described in the CD liner notes as “the genuine article – a throwback to the bluesmen of yore who learned their licks at the knee of a legendary patriarch like Charlie Patton”. Well – he certainly is the genuine article – a tough brooding performer whose music is rooted firmly in the 50s. He was also mentored by a legendary patriarch, the reverend Robert Wilkins, who along with MG’s father (John R Chandler) gave him the “church” upbringing that is so important in developing the intense vocal delivery that permeates the best gospel and blues music.

‘Prodigal Son’ is a simmering cauldron of blues flavoured with Muddy Waters – ‘Test Drive That Woman’, with it’s churning guitar riff, bringing to mind ‘You Need Love’ – whilst the wild and frantic ‘Crabcakes’, with it’s blasting piano, brings to mind both Wolf and Ike Turner.

Helping to create this retro-blues feel, MG has recruited a bevy of musicians that include such well-known performers as Phil Wiggins, Charlie Sayles, Lorenzo Johnson and Willie Hicks, all artists steeped in traditional blues.

There is (naturally) a strong 50’s Memphis feel to several of these tracks – ‘Don’t Let Her Ride’, with it’s rhythmic harp and hard rocking piano, riding a funky, ‘old school’, guitar riff – as does the chunky rhythmed ‘Prodigal Son’, where piano and guitar lay down a compelling riff over which the harp wails ferociously.

Early BB King comes to mind on the brooding ‘Big Leg woman’ and the moody ‘3’s Tonic’; whilst the band get low-down and funky on two ‘greasy’ instrumentals, ‘Melt Down Baby’ and the compelling, and aptly titled, ‘Chicken It’, both of which would have Ike Turner smiling voraciously.

A bleak and brooding ‘Serves Me Right’, with it’s anguished vocals and sparse piano, and the funky ‘Come Wit Me’, with it’s booming vocals, are further highlights of a set guaranteed to please.


The world needs more people like you not just for your music, but for your human
Before I say one word about the music or the musician, I'd like to say something about the man - CHESTER "MEMPHIS GOLD" CHANDLER. After being a veteran of 10 years in the military and having served our country in Viet Nam, MEMPHIS GOLD has spent a great amount of his musical career doing USO tours and entertaining American Troops in Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, Egypt, Sinai, Japan, Guam, Okinawa, Cuba and many other far flung places. When asked why he does this his answer was "I like to give time back to the troops because having served in Viet Nam, I know what it's like to be a long way from home." In addition to this unselfishness, ten years ago, he risked his own life while saving the lives of nine young children he rescued from a train wreck. Chester, the world needs more people like you - not just for your music, but your humanitarianism as well.


About a year ago, MEMPHIS GOLD sent me some rough demos and told me that once his finished product was available, he'd send me a copy for review. What I heard on those demos left me thirsting for more, and at last, after nearly a year, "THE PRODIGAL SON" arrived in my mail box. It was worth the wait.

For this project, MEMPHIS GOLD assembled quite a significant cast of players - not just in quality but in quantity as well. Besides himself, there are sixteen other players. Joining MEMPHIS GOLD on lead and rhythm guitars, harmonica and vocals are: BOBBY PARKER on lead guitar; JOEY "GRASSHOPPER" POPPEN on rhythm guitar; RALPH OLIVER, LARRY SELF, APAULO TRINDADE and the late WILLIE HICKS on bass; WARREN WEATHERSPOON, DAN LEAKE, DON ATLIFF, EMMIT KITTRELL and PETE RAGUSO on drums; KURT GIBBONS on keyboards; LORENZO JOHNSON on congas; PHIL WIGGINS and CHARLIE SAYLES on harmonica; ROBERT ELDRIDGE on horns.

The opening track on "THE PRODIGAL SON", which consists mostly of originals, is a very funky tune called "COME WIT' ME". Aside from the rhythmic vocals and hot guitar licks from MEMPHIS, it is indeed the rhythm section that lights the fire on this one. WARREN on the drums, LORENZO on the congas, RALPH on bass and KURT on the keys, are the highlights on this one.

"DON'T LET HER DRIVE" and "CRABCAKES" are two real hard driving numbers. The whole band is in the fast lane on these two. On the first one, KURT tears it up on keys while MEMPHIS adds some smoking harp playing, and on the second one, KURT absolutely blows me away. At this point, I actually stopped writing the review for a bit, while I did searches for KURT GIBBONS on the Internet. I am absolutely astounded by this mans playing.

"BIG LEG WOMAN" is the first track that slowed it down to some real low down blues. This track alone would earn MEMPHIS GOLD the right to call himself a blues man. His vocalizing and guitar work is perfect.

On a CD that features four bass players, some of the best you'll hear is on a track called "CHICKEN IT". It's an instrumental that features the late WILLIE HICKS playing some of the fastest bass these ears have ever heard. It's a shame that I had to use such a disappointing adjective in front of his name. On this track, Willie went toe to toe with the harp, the guitar and the piano, and he laid it all down as fast as they did. "PREACHERS BLUES" is another one of those tracks that, as with many others, the rhythm section shines. I guess with three different drummers and four different bass players that should be the case. Once again, it's WILLIE on bass and KURT on organ but this time it's PETE on the drums. ROBERT also does one hell of a job with the horns here.

Some of the best blues guitar on this CD can be heard on one of my favorite tracks, "SERVES ME RIGHT". This nearly ten minute track is all MEMPHIS. It's a slow, very soulful track that brings out this versatile musicians blues side. You can truly feel his playing and his singing coming directly from his soul.

There is one thing concerning "THE PRODIGAL SON" that has me worried, and I so do hope I am wrong about this. Unfortunately, I think that this may be the 'best Cd that no-one hears'. As is usually the case with self-produced, self-distributed, independent recordings, they only get to reach a select minority of the music world. In the case of this recording, that would be a shame.

Blues On Stage ( Tim Holek)

Poconos Blues Festival (Review)
If you could build the ideal blues festival, you woul
d find a picturesque setting, book real blues bands, get blues enthusiasts to show up and cap things off with perfect weather. This is just what Michael Cloeren did for the 13th Annual Pocono Blues Festival. His festival isn’t for those who ‘think’ they like the blues. Those folks would be better off going to their nearest House of Blues. This festival is organized by a paid staff of 150 which ensures everything runs professionally. Over 20,000 attendees came from 25 states plus four countries. New, this year, was a cultural tent which made it even harder to see everything that the festival offers with its three stages and multiple vendors. The cultural tent provided a chance to meet/greet artists and watch highlights from past festivals and past W.C. Handy Award shows.

For the second year in a row, there was a pre-party on Friday evening. This intimate event provides blues advocates with a hot buffet prior to entertainment in the tent stage. This year’s hearty meal included chicken, pork, amazing Cajun mayonnaise, coleslaw, rice, beans, chocolate cake and non-alcoholic beverages. For those who didn’t like all the carbohydrates, there was plenty of Michelob Ultra beer to wash it down. The pre-party is supposed to give festival early birds the chance to meet and greet some artists. Although no artists were seen, there was a pleasant overall atmosphere in the lodge. It was just like going out to your local roadhouse.

First up, on Friday, was the masterful harp player, Wallace Coleman, from Ohio. The purist crowd reacted warmly and gave him a standing ovation. Next, Byther Smith said he wasn’t feeling well. This didn’t stop him from twiddling his strings to glory especially on the harsh rendition of "The Thrill Is Gone." Smith didn’t introduce his band and barely interacted with the audience. His distinctive guitar picking cut straight through to the soul and soothed like only the best of Chicago’s most-established guitarists can do. Eddie Shaw’s energetic set began with his son, Vaan, performing guitar gymnastics. Many covers were played like "Everyday I Have The Blues", "Little Red Rooster", "Howlin’ For My Darlin’", and "I’ll Play The Blues For You." Most were arranged as 1950s-styled, Chicago house-rockin’ boogies. At the center of the party was Shaw’s expressive sax. The highlight was Kenny Neal jamming with the band on "Sweet Home Chicago." A less covered song would have been better but Neal’s finely calibrated harp made the song remarkable. The sound quality isn’t always great in the tent but if you have an insatiable thirst for the blues, get to the Pocono Blues Festival for the pre-party.

Although the weather forecast wasn’t good, Saturday turned out to be a glorious day. This meant the crowd could easily race back and forth between the two main stages and one tented stage. Kansas City’s King Alex Littlejohn kicked things off. His backing band, The Untouchables, were truly spectacular. They featured dual guitarists. Doug Hemphill was quite older than Lester "Wizard" King but when Hemphill played his Flying-V guitar with his teeth, he came across as lively as a teenager. Arkansas-born Alex wasn’t as energetic as his rocking band who looked sharp, in color-coordinated stage clothes. They played all original songs including the signature tune, "Hot As A Coffee Pot." Since he rarely gets to these parts, anticipation ran high for Chicago blues veteran Eddie C. Campbell. Unfortunately, his performance fell short of expectation.

Nora Jean Bruso, arrived on stage, with a voice as powerful as a freight train’s engine. She unveiled many tunes from her new Severn release called "Going Back To Mississippi." Its aptly titled since she was born and raised in Greenwood, Mississippi. To the delight of the audience and those in the photo pit, Bruso practically performed her steamy and stomping set on the runway. This baby-faced, heavy-chested woman was dressed attractively as she sang up a hurricane on tunes about her home state and her first love. The latter, entitled "Broken Heart," could have been a hit during soul’s heyday. It featured her most diverse vocals that ranged from supple to fervent. All the time, the intensity built until she exploded into a thunderous roar. Her colossal voice was as hefty as her girth and has been influenced by the great women of Chicago that have preceded her. It is as deep as Karen Carroll’s and growls like Bonnie Lee. This former Jimmy Dawkins Band vocalist is the new, dominant force on the Windy City’s blues scene. It was not surprising to see Chicago musicians with her including Bob Stroger on bass, Jimmie Jacobs and Brian Lupo on guitar along with James Carter drums. If Nora continues to seismically shift her audience with performances like this, she’ll be winning vocalist of the year awards before she knows what happened to her. About Bruso, Cloeren has said, "she has what it takes to be the next Queen of the Blues."

Indiana’s Mighty Mo Rodgers delivered the most eclectic mix of the festival. At one point, he did an African drum tune which told how the blues evolved. "They took our drum from us," explained Rodgers while standing behind his organ/keyboard. He also said there are three things in the world that are true. They are death, taxes, and the blues. Mo exclaimed, he could only help us with the blues. His band featured a consummate guitarist with the ability to tear things up. Their best tune was about the ultimate drive-by.
Many people came back to stage one before Bobby Rush began. The attraction was seeing/hearing him and his large band perform their sound-check. Those that arrived early will never forget it. When the check was completed, Rush came down into the photo pit and mingled with the fans. He signed autographs and had many pictures taken. His road manager had to practically drag him away so the show could continue. Artists such as Eddie Shaw, Eddie C. Campbell and DC Bellamy, were spotted, in the audience, during Rush’s risqué, chitlin’ circuit, show. The charismatic Rush was visually entertaining and musically satisfying. He included the giant panties gag and his girls did plenty of bootie shaking. His animation put the greatest number of smiles on the greatest number of faces. Being a natural performer allowed him to command the audience. They followed his every move and hung to each word. Mid-way through, he changed from his more reserved attire to the bright blue outfit as seen in the recent Scorsese film. Heavy beats and funky rhythms were present on regular repertoire songs like: "Hoochie Man" and "Hen Pecked." Each song told a story which gave Rush a chance to use his clever oratory skills.

We arrived at the tent stage just as Nora Jean Bruso was concluding her second set. She had her audience worked into such a frenzy, they almost brought the tent down. Billy Branch and Kenny Neal then played solo and acoustically as on their CD, "Double Take." They performed many tunes from that album which proved very popular with the subdued crowd who were there to listen. Both sang but Kenny had a more deep and commanding voice. Together, they proved acoustic blues doesn’t mean songs that are slow, sad and boring.
On Sunday, intense spiritual energy was in the air for the entire day which focused heavily on groups with a gospel element to their music. Throughout the day, it was common to see people in tears, with goose bumps, and being taken over by the Holy Spirit. Even the most devout of cynics walked away contemplating where that energy could have come from. For some, it was a baptism by music and surely the music resulted in a few conversions. First, it was the Sacred Steel guitar of the Campbell Brothers. The sounds of their lap and pedal steel guitars burned with as much intensity as the mid-day sun. This just made you feel good. Their jubilant act was a raucous celebration of the Lord and his wonders with songs such as "What’s His Name? … Jesus!" and "God Is A Good God." Somehow, Phillip Campbell made his electric six string guitar sound like an organ and Chuck Campbell made his pedal steel sound like a train. Their House of God Church music makes you want to stand up, jump, dance, shout, and celebrate life. That’s just what Chuck Campbell did. It was a unique, and authentically American, experience to see and hear them. They left the spellbound audience feeling high and happy and set the tone for the day. Sunday’s spiritual performances had the most meaning, were the most moving and were the most heartfelt.

Jimmy Burns could well be the last artist who knows how to combine country blues with a more urban feel. He was playful and jokingly told his listeners, since there were children present and it was a day show, he couldn’t describe a certain song the way he’d like to. Many of his songs featured repetitive rhythms that either hypnotized or contained too much monotony. Also in the tent where the Kansas City Blues All-Star Revue featuring DC Bellamy, Linda Shell and Milliage Gilbert. Some of them didn’t share Burn’s opinions and performed a song about a two dollar whore with lyrics: "don’t need class / long as you shake your ass." They were backed by The Untouchables who were not as impressive as the previous day with King Alex.
Texas-born, and raised, Roy Gaines, took the stage sporting a white beard and immediately took charge by re-locating his microphone stand at the edge of the runway. This put him at the closest possible point to the audience and they were thrilled. His brilliant piano player’s hands jumped and danced all over the keys. Unlike Gaines, who did not carry out his usual jumps and twists as other festival-goers had remembered. When appropriate, Gaines made his big voice growl like a bear. He gave a solid set that landed somewhere in the middle of traditional and contemporary blues although he wasn’t pleased with the sound.

Mavis Staples gave a performance that reduced many to a whimpering and trembling mess. She brought tears to the eyes of the crowd (including Bruce Iglauer) and herself on "God Is Not Sleeping." Staples proved herself to be a very convicted woman spiritually and musically. She still has her instantly recognizable, dynamic voice and still is a great entertainer. Her unheralded backing band, featured her sister, Yvonne, on background vocals, Will Crosby guitar, Stephen Fordham keyboards, Tony Grady bass, and Brian Parker drums. All had a chance to play extended solos on "I’ll Take You There." She told Staples Singers stories from the past and performed songs from days gone by such as "Respect Yourself." Her healing music was designed to help our hurting and deeply suffering world. Additionally, she used the gig to heavily promote her new Alligator CD, "Have A Little Faith." If that CD is anything like her overwhelming performance, she should start making room in her trophy case now.

The Teardrops, Magic Slim’s longtime backing band, included: Chris Biedron on Bass; Vernal Taylor on drums; and Jonathan McDonald on guitar. After they warmed things up with a couple numbers, Slim took the stage via strolling into the photo pit to get as close to the fans as possible. He played his usual series of raw, basic, down-home, guitar blues. This particular set wasn’t as raucous as normal. Perhaps it was due to Slim’s stage amp which produced a sound that he wasn’t pleased with. Whatever the case, this didn’t sound like the same band that won a Handy Award in 2003 for Best Blues Band.

Sunday night’s headliners, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, gave the best concert of the entire festival. Unlike rock concerts where brawny energy is wasted, the Blind Boys’ spiritual energy had purpose. It was like the Holy Spirit had descended over the entire crowd. All six members appeared dressed in gold suits while Jimmy Carter was the only member with a handkerchief. The bass player had the only suit that wasn’t identical to the rest of the band and he was the only member not wearing sunglasses. Everyone sang but Clarence Fountain and Carter continue to be the two prime vocalists. Their upbeat and life-changing set featured "Amazing Grace", "People Get Ready", and other songs from their two most recent releases. To experience their unrivaled vocal harmonies on "Shall Not Walk Alone" completed the musical journey. Towards the end of the show, Jimmy walked through the crowd and turned the place into a revival. Their words, and very being, are in inspiration to keep pressing on. From the moment they hit the stage to the moment they left, The Blind Boys constantly invited the mesmerized audience to embrace their powerful music.

Other artists who appeared at the festival included: Chick Willis, Bobby Blue Bland, Big George Brock,"MEMPHIS GOLD" , Jackie Payne & Steve Edmonson. You may not recognize all of the artists who are booked at this festival so you are sure to leave with some new favorites. However, each and every year, Pocono features more authentic blues music than practically ever other blues festival in North America. If you haven’t attended this peerless festival, be sure to put it on your list.

Polish Review

I've already listened to your CD several times and I am impressed. Your sound is contemporary but at the same time your respect for tradition is obvious. I really like your guitar playing: emotional and tasteful. You know how to use your guitar right but you never overplay. You have recorded a very good CD.

It will be my pleasure to play your music in my shows and tell my listeners your story.

Thank you again for the music you've sent me. Let us stay in touch.

Your Polish promo guy,
Przemek Draheim

Bruce Iglauer/ Alligator Records & Artist Mgmt.,Inc

I like the fact that he`s a real bluesman and can play and sing with soul!
Album contains great vocals, tasteful guitar solo`s and slow blues, good performance, I enjoyed it!

Vier Punkte/ Blues&Roots


Mit „Prodigal Son“ legt Chester Chandler, genannt Memphis Gold, ein variantenreiches Album vor. Der aus Memphis stammende Sänger, Gitarrist, Harmonikaspieler und Songwriter bewegt sich dabei zwischen Chicagoblues, Funk und Boogie. Bereits im zarten Alter von vier Jahren griff der heute 50jährige zur Gitarre, mit Acht war er regelmäßig in der Beale Street tätig. Mit zwölf Jahren nahm ihn der legendäre The Reverend Robert „Tim“ Wilkins unter seine Fittiche. All diese Erfahrung fließt in Memphis Golds Musik ein, eine gelungene Mixtur aus „klassischen“ Bluesmustern – etwa dem Chicagoblues-Gitarrentremolo auf „3´s Tonic“ – und moderneren (Funk)Anleihen, wie auf dem Instrumental „Melt Down Baby“. Golds Saitenarbeit ist versiert und songdienlich, seine hellen, leicht angerauten Vocals überzeugen ebenso. Die Platte ist gediegen produziert und instrumentiert, unter anderem geben auch Phil Wiggins und Charlie Sayles Gastspiele an der Harp. Memphis Gold versteht es zuzupacken („Don´t Let Her Ride“), vermag aber auch in langsamen Momenten sehr atmosphärisch zu sein. Man höre dazu etwa das exzellent schwitzende, fast zehnminütige „Serves Me Right“. Tipp! -DiHo-

Voodoohead Productions (Bryon Tosoff Radio Promotions)

CHET CHANDLER (aka Memphis Gold) It is straight from the heart and right to your soul is what Memphis gives you. When you hear his singing, it is smooth and rich, Someone you can listen to for a long time, great singer and one superb guitarist!

Howard Rye/ Blues & Rhythm Magazine

"He knows how to make technique and inspirations mesh to get into the listerner`
I admit that after following him up on the web and learning his other associations I Thought Kurt Gibbons on keyboard and organ might prove a weak link. He isn`t. He in on every track except `3`S Tonic', and both his piano and his soulful organ are well-thought out and fully respect the blues aesthetic. No thumping rock ego trips.
Memphis Gold himself is equally strong in the vocal and instrumental departments, which is not always the case these days. He has something to say, and uses strong vehicles to say it. His guitar solos complement the mood of the songs. He attributes his awareness that less can be more to his gospel background. The thoughtful guitar solo on 'Big Leg Woman' - "What you got down there woman will make a bulldog kiss a hound"- is a notable example.
'Melt Down Baby' is a funky instrumental, no doubt great for dancing. It has its moments, but overall is a bit too repetitive for repeated listening in my opinion. I have a few reservations also about the latin effects on 'Bedroom Mumba', despite an inspired turn by Bobby Parker as guest lead guitarist duetting with the leader.
For the rest it`s pure Gold. None of the songs are credited on the Cd and I admit I have no idea how 'Prodigal Son' relates to the Rolling Stones version(I wouldn`t even know there was one if the press release didn`t mention it!), but this is a blues performance. When he sings, " at that fork in the road, and I don`t know which way to go. Well, I got these six women, I`m looking for a long happy home," you believe him! He knows how to make technique and inspirations mesh to get into the listener`s consciousness.
Five tracks have harp. This is played by Phil Wiggins on the title track and 'Chicken It', a pounding instrumental on which he cuts loose. Charlie Sayles is restrained on 'bedroom Mumba', but his extended solo wail on 'Come go Wit Me' is anything but. Memphis Gold himself take a short harp solo on 'Don`t Let Her Ride' and does that pretty well too. My personal favourites include the lady called 'Crabcakes', for whom he has some louisiana hot sauce', 'Come on, baby, let`s get Louisiana bound", Test Drive That Woman', I`m gonns put her lovin' in overdrive," and '3'S tonic', which is about a product(which really exists) called 3S Tonic, The little girl is my 3S, she peps me up both night and day."
The approach is in the true tradition, the presentation well honed, contemporary, and above all personal and expressive.

Jefferson Magazine/ Sweden

Memphis Gold/ Climbing to the Top
Climbing to the top
I februari månad 2005 kom en recensionsskiva från en Barbara Chandler, Arlington, Virginia, med en för mig helt okänd artist. Personen i fråga visade sig vara hennes man Chester, som uppträder under namnet Memphis Gold. Jag reagerade väldigt positivt på plattan och tipsade Tommy Löfgren om att det finns en ny bra artist att lägga på minnet, Tommy berättade att han redan kände till honom, då han tillsammans med Erik Lindahl såg honom på klubben Green´s Lounge i Memphis 1990. Till vår glädje var Memphis Gold ett av affischnamnen på Åmål´s Blues Fest i juli och då passade vi på att få en pratstund med honom på stadshotellet. Tyvärr blev intervjun lite kort då ett brandlarm utlöstes och vi tvingades avbryta intervjun, men vi fick ändå ihop lite material från en pratsam Chester Chandler.

Chester börjar berätta om sin familj, där fadern John Chandler föddes 1905 och kom från Tennessee. Han var 20 år äldre än modern Reada Chandler, som föddes i Rolling Fork, Mississippi och växte upp tillsammans med Muddy Waters, som hon mindes alltid spelade på gitarren. Fadern spelade endast kyrkomusik på sin kontrabas. Chester brukade stå på en stol i kyrkan som barn och spela på sin fars bas.

Min fars musik kan liknas med ragtime, jag fick min inspiration till musiken från honom. Jag brukade sitta på en pianostol och lyssna på honom, när han spelade i Memphis. Musiken fanns alltid omkring mig. Min mor ville att jag skulle spela som Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Var det en baptistkyrka?
Nej, i baptistkyrkor sjunger man mer lovsånger från bibeln. I vår kyrka var det mera fartfylld musik med handklappningar, tamburiner och piano.

Känner du till Rev. Willie Morganfield, kusin till Muddy Waters?
Ja, han tillhör baptistkyrkan. Jag växte upp till musik av Rev. Robert Wilkins. Varje söndag morgon såg jag Mr Wilkins spela och jag studerade hans fingrar. Min far spelade piano och Wilkins och jag spelade gitarr, bara vi tre tillsammans. Av alla i min familj idag är det endast jag som spelar blues. Mina bröder och systrar tillhör kyrkan. När vi träffas frågar de om jag fortfarande spelar ”the devil´s music”. Jag ser det som ett arbete och jag skriver mina låtar som berättelser. Jag har varit gift flera gånger och mina låtar innehåller mycket av mina egna upplevelser.

När träffade du Rev. Wilkins första gången?
När jag var elva år. 1966 satt vi bredvid varandra och spelade en söndag i kyrkan New Prospect Church of God In Christ, där han var ansluten. Han berättade inte mycket om de tidiga åren, förutom att han slutade spela blues vid ett ställe där det uppstod bråk och han tackade Gud för att denne räddade hans liv vid detta tillfälle. Jag märkte att min far och han säkerligen måste ha spelat ihop en tid, då de spelade så säkert tillsammans.

När började du spela i band?
Det var ett lokal band, The Temprees.

Det låter som ett soulband.
Det var ett soul/pop-band top 40 stil. Jag hade också ett eget litet band kallat the Reflections, som bestod av fyra killar från high school. Vi gjorde allt från Wilson Pickett-låtar till Jackson Five. Detta var under slutet av 60-talet, men den mesta tiden ägnade vi oss åt musik utövad i kyrkan.

Är kyrkan det bästa stället att få sin skolning från?
Ja, min far och jag var kvar och sjöng till långt in på natten. Kom i säng vid tvåtiden. Sedan skulle man upp på måndagen till skolan. Han var otroligt religiös och det fanns tillfällen jag inte hade lust att följa med, men han fick med mig. Kyrkan var en samlingspunkt, där familjer träffades i gemenskap.

Spelar du fortfarande i kyrkan?
Ganska ofta när jag är hemma.

Berätta lite om de tidiga åren på Beale Street?
Jag brukade smita iväg till Beale Street, The Church of God and Christ låg inte långt från Beale Street. Där lyssnade jag på Bukka White och Furry Lewis. Jag tjänade lite pengar själv; fick ihop 50-60 dollar. För mig var det som att vara i himlen, när jag fick komma till Beale Street i början på 1960- talet.

Fanns det fortfarande jug bands när du växte upp?
Ja, det fanns oftast och då var det gamla män som spelade.

Fick du några kommentarer från de äldre bluesmännen när du som ung spelade?
Ibland, men de äldre ville inte att jag skulle vara där. Ta inte vår brödföda, brukade de säga, och schasade iväg mig. Jag minns att jag brukade hämta sodavatten åt Albert King, som höll till i spellokalerna. Jag hade hela tiden kul; ingen annan stad än Memphis kunde vara bättre att vara född i.

Finns det fortfarande artister från den tiden som spelar och minns dig.
The Fieldstones minns mig. Även Robert Belfour; han har varit med en tid nu. Han gifte in sig i vår familj på min moders sida. På min mammas sida var de baptister och de kom från Mississippi. De drack whiskey och moonshine. De var annorlunda och via dem fick jag bluesdelen. Jag växte upp under två olika sidor. När jag kom ned till Mississippi och träffade mina kusiner, kunde jag lyssna på bluesplattor med Muddy och andra gamla artister. Jag och min mor brukade plocka bomull på lördagarna. Det kom en buss till Memphis och hämtade upp folk och körde ned till Clarksdale, Stovall´s Plantation, Dockery Plantation och andra ställen, där vi kunde plocka. Jag brukade följa med min mor och vi tjänade ihop lite pengar.

Fick ni betalt samma dag?
Ja, och de gamla brukade spela dam (checkers) under skuggan av träden minns jag.

Under vilka förhållanden lever du nu?
Jag kan spela mer traditionell blues. Men den gör mig ledsen, för jag tänker på den tiden som var svår för de svarta. Jag gillar den gamla stilen, uppskattar den mer nu, men jag försöker spela mer i nuet. Jag vill pumpa upp den lite. Något som får mig att tänka att det är tuffa tider numera, är när hyran skall betalas. Jag har egentligen inget fast jobb och hyran på 1700$ måste betalas varje månad. När jag kommer till den 25 i månaden mår jag bra, men runt den 30: e måste jag börja tjäna ihop pengar igen. Jag spelar inte bara musik, utan jag jobbar med att fälla träd. Jag klättrar upp i höga i träd och sågar. Jag har en liten grupp, som jobbar åt mig på marken. De flesta kommer från Guatemala och Honduras. Jag betalar dem bra, 10-12$ i timmen, jag måste prata spanska med dem. Jag är inte rädd för höga höjder, bor på 17: e våningen.

När det gäller musiken jobbar jag mycket ihop med Charlie Sayles. Han är Vietnamveteran och vi är mycket goda vänner. Vi spelar bra tillsammans. Charlie var förr en bitter man och var arg på världen. När jag träffade honom första gången, var han arg på alla. Mycket svårt att förstå honom, jag var nog den ende som förstod honom och jag bröt isen. Vi spelar som duo eller i band. När jag kom till Washington 1991, hade jag bara löst enkel biljett och hade 100$ i min ficka och kände ingen. Levde på gatorna i Washington över ett år. Sov på parkbänkar och i gränder. Köpte en gitarr och träffade Charlie Sayles och vi spelade tillsammans på gatorna. Vann Washington D.C. Battle Of the Bands 1994. Jobbade ett år i Deborah Colemans band och träffade Bobby Parker på klubben Jet Lounge och resten är historia.

När började större saker hända för dig?
Jag var i flottan i nästan tio år. Jag hittade alltid en gitarr någonstans att spela på. Det fanns ett ställe i Grekland där vi brukade samlas och jag tog alltid med mig gitarren och det fanns alltid någon av killarna som kunde spela något instrument. Vi spelade mycket soul men även lite blues. Oftast blev det låtar som var på ropet vid den tiden. Vi brukade alltid sätta ihop ett militärband på skeppet. Jag minns att Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay var en av låtarna som vi spelade mycket.

Finns det många bluesklubbar i Washington?
Det har funnits 150 klubbar men numera finns det 75.

Består din repertoar av dina egna låtar eller framför du andras?
Jag har ett flertal sånger från andra artister, men det känns mer bekvämt när jag sjunger mina egna. Jag spelade med The Fieldstones i flera år och framför nu några av deras låtar.

Vilken roll spelar Barbara?
Barbara håller koll på mig hela tiden. Det känns tryggt att ha henne i närheten och hon tar hand om allting från att få ett kallt glas vatten när man lämnar scen, till att hon kommer med pengarna efter spelningen.

Vilka spelar i ditt band nu?
Ralph Oliver, bas, Charley Sayles, munspel, Kurt Gibbons, keyboard, Emmit Kattrell, trummor, och några killar som hoppar in i bandet ibland. Det handlar om att kunna betala, så de är inte ordinarie.

Anser du texten är viktigare än musiken?
Båda är lika viktiga för mig och de bör hålla ihop så att berättelsen blir övertygande.

Vilka är dina favoritartister?
Först min far. Sedan gillar jag Howlin´ Wolf, Elmore James, Son House, B.B. King, Big Lucky Carter, och Albert King, som jag lärde känna i spellokalerna i Memphis som barn.

Var det på skiva du hörde dessa artister?
Via radio hela tiden; WDIA som hade sändning en gång i veckan. Jag minns en lokal station, där Rufus Thomas sände program. Vi hade en stor radio hemma och min far lyssnade på gospelmusik, medan jag brukade ratta in bluesprogrammen.

Köper du skivor?
Jag köper mest i den äldre stilen, Rev. Gary Davis, Bukka White etc.

Varför kallar du dig Memphis Gold?
När jag träffade Barbara hade jag två guldtänder i munnen. Då föreslog hon: ”Du som kommer från Memphis och har guld i munnen, varför inte börja kalla dig för Memphis Gold!”

Finns det något du vill tillägga?
Jag vet inte hur många bluesartister det finns i min egen ålder, men jag är nu 50 år och det är viktigt att nästa generation svarta eller vita fortsätter spela blues. Om inte vi som spelar nu förmedlar bluesen och dess budskap vidare, kanske den dör ut. Jag ser flera duktiga killar spela bluesgitarr nuförtiden och oavsett hudfärg är det viktigt, att det spelas med rätt känsla. Jag hoppas att fler av mina svarta bröder håller musiken vid liv. Många tycker att bluesen tillhör det förflutna och inte hör till nutiden. Beale Street är inte längre som det varit. Varje gång jag kommer ned till Memphis tänker jag: Var är den riktiga bluesen? Nu är det andra musikstilar som gäller runt Beale Street och det är sorgligt att det blivit så. Det är inte många som gör sig pengar på bluesmusiken runt Beale Street.

Ingemar Karlsson och Tommy Löfgren
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