Chubby Tavares - Amazing Ride (2018)

Chubby Tavares
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Chubby Tavares - Amazing Ride

Antone Lawrence Tavares was large for a newborn – weighing in at 10 pounds and four ounces. His grandmother gave him the nickname that has remained with him for the next 74 years – Chubby. It was under that name that he along with his brothers grew into one of the biggest soul, disco and pop groups of the 1970s. Chubby Tavares - the large newborn – grew into a big and distinctive voice who sang lead on many of Tavares major hits.

With Chubby as the lead voice and his brothers providing air-tight harmonies as backing vocalist, Tavares adeptly handled the range of music heard on R&B and pop radio in the 1970s and early 80s – funk (“It Only Takes A Minute”), disco (“More Than A Woman”), pop (Heaven Must Be Missing and Angel”) and R&B (“Whodunit” and “Never Had a Love Like This Before”).

Chubby Tavares - Amazing Ride

Antone Lawrence Tavares was large for a newborn – weighing in at 10 pounds and four ounces. His grandmother gave him the nickname that has remained with him for the next 74 years – Chubby. It was under that name that he along with his brothers grew into one of the biggest soul, disco and pop groups of the 1970s. Chubby Tavares - the large newborn – grew into a big and distinctive voice who sang lead on many of Tavares major hits.

With Chubby as the lead voice and his brothers providing air-tight harmonies as backing vocalist, Tavares adeptly handled the range of music heard on R&B and pop radio in the 1970s and early 80s – funk (“It Only Takes A Minute”), disco (“More Than A Woman”), pop (Heaven Must Be Missing and Angel”) and R&B (“Whodunit” and “Never Had a Love Like This Before”).

It has indeed been an amazing ride, and that story makes his choice of Amazing Ride as the title of Chubby Tavares’ new album an appropriate one. Time has brought about some changes in Tavares’ long and amazing ride. His distinctive voice is a softer as age has rubbed the edge and chipped away some of the range. Yet, as the title track shows, Chubby can still grab a note when he reaches for it. Besides, those changes give tunes such as “Amazing Ride” and “Path of Compassion” that added touch to sentimentality.

Amazing Ride has the feel of a retrospective album despite most of the tracks being original -the sole cover being Tavares’ excellent disco version of “Smile.” Tavares notes that the song, made famous by Nat King Cole, was a favorite of his mother. Disco was the dance music of the 1970s, and artists from that era often repackaged tunes from the Songbook era, transforming the cuts into disco tracks. It was rarely done as well as Chubby Tavares does it here.

The album’s retrospective feel comes from Tavares using Amazing Ride to revisit the genres that gave the Tavares brothers so many hits back in the day. “Steppin’ Out Tonight” is a mid-tempo R&B number that is an homage to the steppers set, which is the couples dancing style of this day and time. The up-tempo funk of “Music is Healing” finds Tavares and duet partner Pattie Brooks on a track praising the music’s restorative and redemptive powers, while the soft edges of his vocal adds poignancy to the tired of being alone on the road theme of the ballad “Gotta Get Back to You.”

Chubby Tavares celebrated a birthday in early June, and as he approaches the three-quarter pole of this amazing ride, it should not be surprising that his legacy and that of the singing Tavares brothers is on his mind. Amazing Ride shows that legacy is still being eloquently crafted. Solidly Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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