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Sons of Champlin: Live

A 20-year reunion of this beloved San Francisco band results in a soul-inspired 13-track recording.

By Derk Richardson

Grateful Dead Records; (800) Cal Dead; www.dead.net

We can all come up with examples of '60s rock bands who should have hung up their rock and roll shoes before their once-fresh hits landed on "classic rock" radio—and certainly before they could embarrass themselves with unwitting self-parodies on overblown, overpriced tours of the world's football stadiums. On the other hand, there is the rare example of San Francisco's beloved Sons of Champlin, who retired in 1977 before they could wear out their welcome, and reassembled 20 years later for the Northern California concerts that yielded this 13-track live reunion. Although the horns could have been mixed with more punch, the rhythm section of bassist David Shallock, drummer Jim Preston, and keyboardist/vibist Geoff Palmer plays with jazz-inflected drive; guitarist Terry Haggerty proves himself one of the underrated masters in a long Bay Area history of string-benders; and soul-inspired singer Bill Champlin redeems all those years with pop megagroup Chicago.

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