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Kerry Chater: Part Time Love

Album Notes

According to Gene Sculatti's liner notes in Real Gone's 2014 reissue of Part Time Love, Kerry Chater always wanted to be a writer -- nothing more, nothing less. His songs are what landed him a deal with Warner Bros. and they're the foundation of his long career as a songwriter in Nashville, and the best that can be said of his 1977 debut is that it's very much a writer's record: a collection of songs designed to be big hits. That they weren't big hits in 1977 is neither the fault of co-producer/arranger Michael Omartian, who gives this record a lovely Los Angeles studio sheen that is partially indebted to Boz Scaggs and partially indebted to England Dan & John Ford Coley, nor is it the fault of Chater the writer, who does pen a bunch of sunny, appealing songs in a couple of different idioms. The deliberate ballads ("No Love on the Black Keys," "Here Comes the Rain") fall just short of majestic, "Misty Mary" shimmers like a sunset on a beach, "Beginning of the End" has a nice propulsion that's somewhat eclipsed by the giddiness of the bouncing soul beat of "Part Time Love." Every one of these is nicely crafted SoCal soft rock and Chater the singer gives them a friendly spin that is just a shade nondescript. He sings like a writer, staying within the precise lines of the melodies and making sure not to get in the way of the songs. This may have kept Part Time Love off the charts in 1977, but the songs' sturdiness and Omartian's lush but not florid arrangements make this a nice little yacht rock treasure. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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