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Chi Coltrane: Road to Tomorrow

Album Notes

In the years between Let It Ride and Road to Tomorrow, Chi Coltrane had suffered financial misfortune at the hands of a neglectful manager. Not that you could tell from these songs, all relentlessly upbeat and optimistic. Released on the small Clouds label, Road to Tomorrow has none of the appealing darkness of earlier Coltrane, but thankfully, the musicianship and instant melodies remain. Nearly every song is about either romantic or spiritual satisfaction (with only the curious "Slow Driver," in which Coltrane berates a slack motorist, breaking the mold). The pieces wouldn't sound out of place on a mid-period Carole King album, and there's not a note on the record that isn't a pleasure to hear, but everything -- from the drab front cover to the chronic prettiness of the songs -- lacks the bite she had before. By the time the album closes (with the title track), you'll feel either blissfully purged of all unpleasant thoughts, or as though you've just eaten twice your own weight in meringues. But give Coltrane points for avoiding the more obvious maudlin tack beloved of singer/songwriters. ~ Charles Donovan


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