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From Soul Express 4/2001


Christopher John Andrus was born in 1962, so that makes him forty soon. "Like all other black kids in our area in the sixties I was born at a Louisiana Charity Hospital. I've lived in Lafayette, Louisiana all my life." Chris names Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, KC And The Sunshine Band and George Clinton as his influences. The nick-name "Lil"? "That's lil' as in lil brother. The name was given to me by an old school musician."

Besides some zydeco recordings (check out his web-site at ""), before his new CD Chris has appeared on two singles before. "One single was with a group called Future. The titles of the songs were I Just Can't Care For U and Memories. The other single was a birthday song with a group called Pressure. I've always loved music not only as a listener but I always wanted to try and play and perform like the artists I saw on the black & white TV on shows like Soul Train, American Band Stand and The Ed Sullivan Show."

Perhaps not a big TV star yet, Chris, however, is in full swing of fulfilling his dream. "I've performed in New York, Chicago, West Coast, East Coast and South Coast. I've worked with such recording artists as Donnie Ray, Love Doctor, Chuck Colbert, Barbara Lynn, Donna Angelle and Lil' Zane & Big Moe. I call my music "Louisiana soul music". Like there are so many different types of Louisiana gumbo (meals), my music has a young feel, but it appeals to the young at heart, too. Here in Louisiana a 25-year-old can go in a record store looking for a rap CD and walk out with my CD. There's one thing that is clear to me. People want to have fun, so I make music that allows them to do so." Chris is a full-time firefighter. "I've been a firefighter for thirteen years, but we have a flex work week, so I book gigs around my off-days."

Like in Chuck Colbert's case, Ves Garrett has also co-produced and co-written Lil' "Fallay" Boy's debut CD, Dreams Do Come True (Lil Fallay Music; '01), together with Chris himself. Chris calls his music also by the name of "swing out", which to these ears means more contemporary beat, sort of a party music with occasional raps, "old school funk" items and even that "lovely" voice machine (I think you know, what I mean) and which must appeal to a younger audience.

But there are a couple of catchy, snappy dancers (Swing It, I'm Coming Home), which to me are like a fresh reminder of the better 70s disco days. Of the three ballads Slow Ride is a jazzy duet with Connie Alexandriyah Garrette and Scared Little Girl a real soul-infused interpretation with Chris using his tenor to a full effect. I also enjoyed Lazarro Nettle's saxophone playing on an over six-minute instrumental titled Southern Kind Of Groove.

"As an independent record label / artist my future looks bright. With the help of the Internet I will be successful in my own right. It's not the glamour I'm looking for. After all, I get enough of that at home with a wife of eighteen years. I just want my music to be respected and appreciated. My second CD will be out in March of 2002, but if this one keeps rolling the way it's rolling, my second CD will have to wait a "Lil" while."
-Heikki Suosalo

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