Chico Banks

Candy Lickin' Man

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When Chico Banks played guitar with the Staple Singers, his playing was hard, uncluttered, and straight to the point, yet it was tempered to fit right in with the Staples' sound. Banks' father Jessie was with the Mighty Clouds of Joy and also a bluesman, and his brother Stanley Banks is a keyboardist, with whom he co-wrote two of these songs. His playing is influenced by blues, rhythm & blues, gospel, and the psychedelia of Jimi Hendrix, especially on his tasty, never burdensome use of the wah-wah pedal. His voice is more than adequate for the job, but the cuts that stand out are those on which he concentrates on his guitar. On "It Must Be Love," Mavis Staples does the vocals, and you can feel the electricity between the two born of a mutual respect for excellence. On "All Your Love," he has "Big James" Montgomery handling the vocals and lets loose some fine playing through that wah-wah pedal. This is one of the finest guitar players to come down the avenue in a good stretch, and he can only mature from here. This is no throwaway first album, with one good cut and lots of dross; its nearly 70 minutes are filled with some mighty fine playing.

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