Front Page

CD Shop

The Best Tracks in 2018

New Releases

Forthcoming Releases

Back Issues

Serious Soul Chart

Quality Time Cream Cuts

Vintage Soul Top 20

Boogie Tunes Top 20

Album of the Month

CD Reviews

Editorial Columns


Readers' Favourites


Randy Muller Boom Chang Bang: Welcome to My Life

Reviewed by Ismo Tenkanen

Rating: 8/ 10

Soul Express CD of the Season - Q4/2019

US Plaza Records CD, 2019
Buy the CD from our CD Shop

1) Welcome to My Life
2) What Are We Gonna Do
3) So Happy (Groovy Kinda Thang)
4) Joy in the Rain
5) Over and Over
6) Nice and Slow
7) Brazilian Nights
8) Something Simple (Algo Simple)
9) Pimms and Lemonade (London Nights)
10) Slip n Slide
11) Summer Luv
12) Lover to Lover
13) Booty Bump
14) I Cry
15) Groovin' U (Single Mix)

I’ve been a long-time admirer of Randy Muller’s production & arrangement style ever since his Brass Construction and First Circle funk classics. In the mid-80s, Randy openly criticized major labels for forcing traditional soul & funk groups to switch their real instruments to trendy machine-oriented and programmed backings. Well, these days Randy Muller leads his latest project Randy Muller Boom Chang Bang and records to his own label Plaza Records, so there are no pressures from major labels or anyone else – and the end result is arguably the best album Randy has ever recorded!

This is not only a funk project, the musical range varies from the familiar Brass Construction -type of club-oriented funk to groovy jazz-funk instrumentals, Brazilian flavoured tunes and some bossa nova – not to mention a couple of tasty soulful mid-tempo floaters and ballads. Personally, I loved almost every track on display here, and the overall level of musicianship and sounds are top-notch. Randy Muller himself plays the keyboards and flute, the horn section contains sax, trumpet, trombone, and the rhythm section includes real drums, bass, guitars, congas etc. Randy Muller has produced, arranger and written all tracks – and they are all new compositions, no cover tunes.

The line-up also contains several guest vocalists such as Angela Johnson, Raheim Le Blanc of G.Q., Nikki Rios and Randy himself, but the focus is on groovy instrumentation. For those who were waiting for “funky like a train” type of club-oriented movers, will not disappoint to tracks such as the opening track Welcome to My Life, the bass- and guitar-driven uptempo funk What Are We Gonna Do (probably a track stylistically closest to classic Brass Construction), the pre-album released bright and breezy single tune Joy in the Rain (with Angela Johnson’s tasty vocals), or the similarly previously available 1st rate groove gem Groovin’ U, which is originally from 2007.

However, this is not just a non-stop party disc, but there are extremely classy mid-pacers and slower tunes on display as well. Nik(k)i Rios was a completely new name to me, but I’m sure we’ll hear a lot from this heavenly-voiced freelance songstress in the future, as her vocals on the magical Latin-flavoured mid-tempo mover Over and Over are just sublime.

As you can guess from the title, Nice and Slow is a ballad-tempo song, actually a flute-led instrumental with a relaxed yet inspiring groove. Meanwhile, Brazilian Nights borrows its atmosphere from genuine Brazilian Bossa Nova, featuring Itaguiara Brandao on bass, drums and Brazilian percussion, whereas Something Simple is a wonderful Latin-flavoured mid-tempo jam with Randy’s intensive flute soloing on top.

The following instrumental Pimms and Lemonade suddenly switches the mood back to European jazz clubs, and this is the kind of semi-instrumental track you would imagine hearing at London’s Jazz Café before any Friday night live session.

And the beat goes on. Slip’n Slide returns the tone back to New York, with a slightly hip-hop tinged modern club groover. Summer Luv is one of the jazziest cuts on offer here, again with Randy’s intensive improvisation with his flute, and Booty Bump continues in the same mould even with a more passionate flute-ridden groove.

A bit surprisingly, I Cry is an extremely deep and rootsy soul ballad with a rich arrangement, showing the astonishing versatility of Randy Muller’s musical spectre. I surely was highly impressed and it’s so sad that the only way to get this kind of music published these days is to create your own label and pay the costs all by yourself.  But then again, now no can any longer tell Randy Muller what kind of music to record and release – and I truly regard this album as his best effort to date.

Get it while you can, as the physical CD is a limited print!

The Latest CD Reviews

Other CD reviews
Back to our home page