Feels So Right by Chuck Yamek – reviewed by Chris Mann


Chuck Yamek’s musical gift became apparent at the age of seven in Cleveland, Ohio, when he got his first guitar. His talent led him to Los Angeles in 1980 where he became a sought-after studio guitarist working with top-flight session players like Tommy Tedesco and Fred Tackett. He has worked with musicians from bands such as Eric Clapton, Tower of Power, Three Dog Night, Bob Seger, Little Feat, David Lee Roth, The Moody Blues, The Temptations and Wild Cherry. 

Chuck applies a wide range of styles to touring and session work, and his experiences have led him to recording his first solo album. Touring and playing live is still his first love, where his devotion to music and his technique leave a lasting impression. 

The title track of this first album has a mellow groove that immediately puts me in mind of such favourite players as Norman Brown.  That lazy style on semi-acoustic (and I mean that in the nicest way) is so beautifully complemented by Craig Yamek’s light touch on drums and Woody Lingle’s tasteful bassline.  Groove.Com has a chunky synth bass and lives up to its name.  The tenor sax of Mitch Reilly adds class to an already classy tune.  It adds the same touch to the slower, moodier and gorgeous Thumbs

There is a sublime steel-strung acoustic guitar carrying the pretty melody on Afternoon with Paris, dedicated to one of his daughters.  L.A. Kinda Thang has a choppier rhythm and is funkier than the previous tunes but also a little mechanical-sounding. 

The only non-original composition in this set, Freddie Hubbard’s Little Sunflower, receives a gorgeous treatment and Craig Yamek’s spot-on rimshots and cymbal work combine with Chris Kent’s flawless bass to provide the perfect rhythm section.  A piano and soprano sax intro to the romantic Seawind set the scene for another pretty acoustic guitar melody.  If you’re looking for a song for your wedding video, choose this gem.  If there were any justice, this would find its way onto a movie soundtrack. 

Morgan’s Theme, dedicated to Yamek’s other daughter, has a lovely, elegant Acoustic Alchemy feel to it.  He has Greg Carmichael’s nylon-strung acoustic tone.  Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.  Boppin’ Around is a bright, upbeat number that goes through several chord changes and mood changes.  Pat Coil on piano captures a great Joe Sample feel on some parts of this lovely song.  Rewind!!  An uplifting mood is kept up for A Little Latin Fiesta.  The key’s in the title, but the song has its moody moments too.  Mitch Reilly’s flute sounds great.  It’s just a pity Glen Caruba’s percussion didn’t receive the spotlight for longer. 

I’m ashamed by how long it has taken me to write this review, but I can tell you that having first heard this CD over a year ago and listening to it again to finalise my notes, I’m enjoying it as much now as I did when I first heard it.  The quality of writing, production and above all musicianship prove consistently satisfying over a long period and that should place this album high on your shopping list.  Fans of Norman Brown and Nick Colionne, make a note.




MoPay Records – RIV9919-2   Producer – Chuck Yamek