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Jim Champlin

Honky Tonks at Night – 2000 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Jim Champlin

From the scant info available, the Colorado-based Champlin seems to have had a short professional music career in the late-50's and early '60's, spanning a few locally released singles, including "Too Many Mini Skirts," on the Box label. Though he didn't click with Nashville, he continued to write songs over the course of nearly 50 years and has now released his first full album.

Champlin has a languid, almost shy delivery. There's a smoothness and comfort that is mindful of pop balladeer Perry Como, but his music, and the playing of his backing band (including splendid acoustic guitar, fiddle and steel), is anything but. His in-studio introductions (both to his songs and himself), and his honky tonk ("Honky Tonks at Nite"), truckin' ("Wheels Wheels Wheels), and South-of-the-border ("Tijuana Blues") subjects, create a traditional down-home feeling.

Though he may not have the same vocal range as when some of these songs were originally written, he benefits from his intimacy with the lyrics and subjects, and acquits himself nicely. (cdcctc@aol.com, 970-593-0768)