Black Music Matters Festival

Five Chinese Brothers

Stone Soup – 1996 (1-800-Prime CD)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

CDs by Five Chinese Brothers

The Five Chinese Brothers are not Chinese, nor are they brothers. (The band and the CD both draw their names from famous children's stories.) What they are is a rocking combo that can make you laugh and think. "Amazing Delores" is the hilarious tale of a real singer who saved herself for Elvis and talks to angels in her trailer park. As philosophy, "You Are Where You Want To Be," is better than most self-help best-sellers. They put their own unique spin on such traditional sub-genres as the trucking song ("Pit Stop") and the gospel tune ("Faith in Something Bigger"). And just when you got the Five CB's pegged as witty and intelligent, but somewhat lacking in passion, they lay you low with a line like this lament (on "Like A Mole In The Ground") from a man losing his lover: "I wish that I was strong or free or not in love or dead," that is just such raw, unadorned emotion that it gives one an almost voyeuristic thrill. The album is all that, and, as they used to say on American Bandstand, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it. What more could you ask for?