Col. Bruce Hampton and the Quark Alliance

Give Thanks to Chank

The Colonel is back, and as lovably eccentric as ever. Give Thanks to Chank is Col. Bruce Hampton's first studio album since he recorded Deluxe Edition with the Codetalkers in 2004. With Hampton – the dean of Atlanta's rock scene – a couple of things are given: strong musicianship and songs that often seem like Flannery O'Connor transported into a Zappa soundtrack. The title track kicks off with an edgy, blues-derived riff that shows off everything that is great about the Quark Alliance – the rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Mark Letalien and bassist Kris Dale, along with the concise and sparse guitar work of Jeff Caldwell. Hampton shares the songwriting spotlight with Caldwell; his songs are often as quirky as Hampton's, but more soul-influenced and introspective. The album isn't heavy on the "jam band" sound that Hampton helped pioneer, but it does include "Lanerville," a 13-minute live track that also features organist Ike Stubblefield and guitarist Grant Greene Jr. 4 stars