I’m delighted to report that copies of Chi Coltrane – Chi Coltrane/Let It Ride/Silk & Steel – have landed! Right here on the rug in my sitting room, as a matter of fact. If you’re looking forward to having a copy of your own, you could do a lot worse than to order directly from BGO Records, here.
These three albums mark the entirety of Chi’s recordings for CBS. For the uninitiated, Chi Coltrane is a piano-playing singer/songwriter from the States who was signed by Clive Davis in the early 1970s. She scored hits in a variety of territories, particularly in Continental Europe. Although her work has been anthologised a few times in the CD era, with releases on V2 and Sony, this release marks the first time that Let It Ride and Silk & Steel have appeared on CD. Let It Ride was partly recorded at Trident Studios, Soho (London) and partly at Mama Jo’s in LA (now known as Dave’s Room). Chi’s engineer on that album was the much-admired Roy Halee, co-producer of Laura Nyro’s New York Tendaberry.
Silk & Steel heralded a change of direction – it was a hard-rocking affair, marking Chi’s return to CBS after one album on TK/Clouds (the much softer-sounding Road To Tomorrow from 1977, which has recently been reissued on CD in Japan).
That just leaves the first album, Chi Coltrane. Owing to the fact that it appeared on CD in the 1990s and also enjoyed a luxurious all-analogue vinyl reissue on Speakers Corner a few years ago, it has enjoyed the highest profile of all Chi’s albums. Perhaps that’s deservedly so. It’s certainly the most singles-orientated, featuring hits like ‘Thunder & Lightning’, ‘You Were My Friend’ and ‘Go Like Elijah’.
My favourite has always been Let It Ride, but I certainly have a place in my heart for all three albums, and it was a considerable pleasure to chat to Chi about them at length as I worked on the liner notes. Each album has been remastered in London by Andrew Thompson of Sound Performance and I hope the package will bring enduring pleasure to Chi Coltrane fans both old and new.