White, Chris

Band members               Related acts

- Clem Cattini -- drums (1976)

- Z. Jenkins -- guitar (1976)

- Dave Olney -- bass (1976)

- Tom Parker -- keyboards (1976)

- Shel Talmy -- percussion (1976)

- Chris White -- vocals, percussion (1976)



The Zombies (Chris WHite)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Mouth Music

Company: Charisma 

Catalog:  CAS 1118

Year: 1976

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: UK pressing

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5284

Price: $50.00


I've been a Zombies fan since I was a young child - one of my first radio memories is of hearing 'She's Not There'.  That said, for years I had no idea Chris White had recorded any solo material.   


In an interesting choice of collaborators, 1976's "Mouth Music" found White working with producer Shel Talmy.  Lost amidst the attention showered on Russ Ballard and Colin Blunstone, White always struck me as the forgotten talent in The Zombies, but anyone expecting to hear a set of Zombie-eque pop was going to be somewhat disappointed by this collection.  (Actually 'To Be a Soldier' would have sounded at home on a Zombies album.) That's not to imply the album was bad, rather it marked a major departure in musical direction.  White was responsible for writing the majority of the 13 tracks, with a couple of  American pop classics and a strange traditional hymn ('Swing Low, Sweet Chariot') rounding out the track listing.  What made the album so different was White's Brian Wilson obsession.  Tracks like 'Don't Look Down', 'Books and Pages' and 'Spanish Wine' (the latter a UK top-40 hit) weren't just influenced by Wilson, but in many cases could have easily fit on a Beach Boys album.  Taken individually songs like 'Drifitin'' were actually quite impressive with White clearly having taken considerable time and effort in understanding the way Wilson put together his winning formula, as well as having figured out how to replicate those melodies, song structures and instantly recognizable harmonies.  Mind you it wasn't perfect.  The decision to cover 'Surfin' USA' may have reflected a nice thematic tie-in to the rest of the album, but the rote cover added nothing to the original, leaving you to wonder why he bothered.  Similarly his covers of the traditional hymn ''Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' and Martha and the Vandella's 'Dancing In the Streets' were forgettable.  Elsewhere 'Zombee Jamboree' was acute nod to his past, but the reggae-influenced track was thoroughly forgettable. From a marketing perspective White's timing certainly could have been better - had this come out two decades later it would have undoubtedly been praised by scores of critics who'd rediscovered Wilson himself (think along the lines of the praise The Wondermints received in the wake of their work with Wilson).   As it was the album never even saw an American release, though it attracted some attention in the UK and Japan.  In fact, unless you live in Japan (where the album seems to have a fanatical following), good luck finding an original copy of the album ...


Charisma tapped the LP for a couple of UK singles:


- 1976's 'Spanish Wine' b/w 'She's Only Dancing' (Charisma catalog number CB 272)

- 1976's 'Natural Rhythm' b/w 'Another Little Miracle' (Charisma catalog number CB 2782

- 1976's 'Don't Look Now' b/w 'Summertime, Summertime' (Charisma catalog number CB 294)


"Mouth Music" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Don't Look Down   (Chris White) - 

2.) Books and Pages   (Chris White) - 

3.) Driftin'   (Chris White) - 

4.) Surfin' USA   (Brian Wilson - Chuck Berry) - 

5.) Swing Low, Sweet Chariot   (traditional)

6.) Spanish Wine   (Chris White) - 


(side 2)
1.) Dancing In the Streets  (W. Stevenson) - 

2.) Natural Rhythm   (Chris White) - 

3.) Listed (To Be a Solider)   (Chris White) - 

4.) Sister Caroline   (Chris White) - 

5.) Zombee Jamboree   (Conrad Eugene Mauge) - 

6.) Not for You   (Chris White) - 

7.) Mouth Music   (Chris White) -