Back Door to Your Soul
If anyone in Switzerland should carry the title of 'Guitar Blues Pioneer' then it is, without a doubt, Chris Lange. It was during the 'rocking fifties' when Chris, then a young teenager, first began to take an interest in rhythm & blues music from 'Black America'. Intrigued by the sounds of Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and other big names of blues and R&B, he taught himself the basic notes of blues-playing on the guitar and the piano. A big influence on his music were also the soulful harmonies of the then popular 'hard gospel'-quartet groups such as THE FIVE BLIND BOYS OF MISSISSIPPI; THE SOUL STIRRERS; THE SENSATIONAL NIGHTINGALES or THE SWAN SILVERTONES. Those gospel groups were the main-inspiration for the more 'pentatonic' southern soul/blues-style that Chris has been playing ever since. As luck would have it, in 1960, the famous blues-singer/piano-player Champion Jack Dupree decided to move to Zurich, Switzerland for several years - which marked the beginning of a long musical and personal friendship between Chris and the black bluesman from New Orleans. It is Chris, 19 at the time, who can be heard as backing guitarist under the name of 'Stuff Lange' on Dupree's 1961's recordings for the Folkways and Sonet/Storyville record labels. During the following years Chris was practically 'at home' in Zurich's legendary Jazzclub 'Africana', where he performed at countless blues-sessions with Dupree and other wellknown musicians. It was there that he earned his reputation as an excellent bluesguitar- and keyboard-player. As a result, he performed and toured with other American blues musicians such as Eddie Boyd, Curtis Jones, Junior Wells, Willie Mabon and Sonny Rhodes, not to forget all the many happy jam-sessions with legends such as the great late Howlin' Wolf; Sunnyland Slim and Memphis Slim, when they were in Switzerland on 'American Folk Blues'-tours. And last but not least, he also toured and worked with several R&B-groups such as 'Driving Wheel'; 'A Cat's Paw' (Teddy Osei's Group, who later changed their name to 'Osibisa'); 'Baracudas' and 'Why Not' during the sixties and seventies. Besides that, from the early sixties on Chris was also very active in producing his own soul/blues-guitar music, recorded in his small home-recording studio. A first selection of those recordings appeared 1969 on his self-produced instrumental-album 'BLUESY MOOD'. A further selection of Lange's music from the early to the mid sixties is now available at CD-Baby on the new album 'RUSTY STRINGS'. Chris and his soulful guitar music can also be heard on recent recordings on his 1998's comeback-album 'BACKDOOR TO YOUR SOUL'. On this CD, Chris plays all the guitar and piano parts as ever, as well as the electronic keyboards, which results in a more modern soul/blues/funk sound. On these recordings we can easily hear the influence of southern-soul and gospel music (which was always Lange's first love), especially on tunes like 'Spicy And Soulful', 'Go Slow', 'Next Week' or 'One Hour Too Late'. On two other selections (the title tune 'Back Door to Your Soul' and 'Some Blues In My Stewpot'), Chris gets musical support by Switzerlands top-blues harmonica-player Dinu Logoz, one of his old band buddies from his seventies r&b-group 'Driving Wheel'.
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