Friday, July 1, 2016

Edgar Broughton Band - 1975 - Bandages

Edgar Broughton Band

01. Get A Rise 4:58
02. Speak Down The Wires 3:09
03. John Wayne 3:08
04. The Whale 5:29
05. Germany 4:31
06. Love Gang 2:53
07. One To Seven 4:57
08. Lady Life 3:03
09. Signal Injector 4:00
10. Frühling Flowers (For Claudia) 5:00
11. I Want To Lie 4:34

Drums, Piano, Tambourine, Harpsichord, Vocals – Steve Broughton
Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Arthur Grant
Guitar, Vocals – John Thomas
Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer [Moog], Bass, Harmonica – Edgar Broughton

Edgar Broughton started going downhill with this album. Actually they started going downhill a couple albums prior, but this one feels like it sinks even deeper. Still, it's an admirable effort.

"Get a Rise" is some kind of... ragtime/country thing with female gospel vocals. What the? Haha! This is nothing like the Edgar Broughton of old! And am I reading correctly that Mike Oldfield is contributing to this album? He's the one playing the dulcimer and harp. The vocals are decent, as is the vocal melody. "I will survive!" ""Gonna kiss the baby's pram, put a tiger in your tank". Hey a really cool psychedelic guitar part with a wild west-like rhythm comes in towards the middle, and it's awesome! As is the female part to close the song with the repeating of the "I will survive" line. Still nothing like the Edgar Broughton of old, but much better in the second half of the song.

"The Whale" is a pretty cool Electric Light Orchestra cover... actually even though I'm kidding about that, the intro *does* remind me of the outer space-y weirdness that begins the ELO song with the same name! Some cool organs and softly sung acoustic folk carry this melody. The way Edgar sings "I think I'm gonna cry" reminds me of either the Incredible String Band or the Who, and the "I guess that's alright if the kids don't mind" in particular reminds me of Pete Townshend. While I like Edgar's emotional tone, this song feels really simplistic underneath the surface. Still a pretty good song though! "Look at the Indian ain't it bad, I'll give you beads if you give up your land, look at the whale watch him go, do you think he knows? Ain't he beautiful? I think I'm gonna cry, I guess that's alright if the kids don't mind and the folks get high".

"One to Seven" again hits me with more outer space-y stuff. This band was obviously in an adventurous mood when making this album! You can see all the constellations as you sail by. Anyway the first part of the song is all about a moog synth passage, and it's really cool believe me, but then... the vocals come in and they do NOT fit the prettiness of that instrumental intro at all! Quite the opposite. Ugh! At least some of the guitar playing with the vocals is pretty tasty, and the middle part with all the guitars and other cool ideas indicate the band was listening to some of the more creative rock at the time with more "Get a Rise" style psychedelic stuff. I love the instrumental portions of this song, but not so much the vocals.

"John Wayne" has great lyrics. "So my love do you wanna be free" Oh no my love, I guess you're a lot like me, I'm gonna run in the sun have a lotta fun, live to a real good age, I'm gonna father your child though you're driving me wild, you don't make too many claims". The lyrics suddenly get biblical ("All souls long to thoughtless rest, without the smallest prayer, like accidents of doubtful love, when no one comes or cares, all creatures cries and human voice repeat eternally on soft, moan winds and waxes of light, upon an endless sea"). Are we talking about John Wayne or... what? Haha! Good stuff either way.

"Germany" opens with a decent guitar line but the vocals stink in the same way as the ones from the first part of "Get a Rise". I shouldn't say the vocals stink, but Edgar's vocals don't feel appropriate in the way they refuse to compliment the guitar playing at all. Perhaps this album should have been entirely instrumental. I get the feeling these guys are trying to sound like the Band with a roots rock sound. Cool guitar soloing as the song approaches the end at least. "Well my brother had a princess, she was dressed in mirrors and the image of a boy-child shone in everyone, done a lot of roads, crossed a lot of bridges, sitting on a ferry 'til the daylight's gone, oh ma hey ma life on the road, gotta get it on!" Hmmm... no idea what these lyrics are about! "They danced as one, dainty as a feather, up to a point both high and wide, drew a lot of love all across the nightmare, waiting in the dark 'til the morning light"

"Speak Down the Wires" uses that strange vocal distorting effect that was famous in the 70's on songs such as "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin. Whatever it's called it's pretty awesome! This song's pretty awesome too. The way these odd vocals gradually shift into an absolutely *gorgeous* mandolin and acoustic guitar solo is just... wow is that part incredibly moving! "The desert was calling me back from the graveyard, tears on car windows like rain in my eyes, I'm loved and afraid to go back to those goodbyes, why can we only speak down the wires?" is a great lyric too. A strange vocal melody a couple minutes in that initially worries me that the song might change into something much worse but it's so short it doesn't matter

"Signal Injector" has hilariously offensive lyrics. "I went to see your mother, she said that's quite alright, for you to take me in upon this coming Friday night, we started drinking coffee, she moved onto wine, I'd rather have your mommy anytime, pretty lady don't you let it upset ya, it's just that my signal injector ain't very well, I know she told your daddy, he didn't mind at all, asked her where we done it, did she like it on the floor? Out popped a little bull whip, laid across her back, the neighbours turned the TV up". LOL! Sometimes lyrics don't need to be discussed in detail... such as on this occasion!

"I Want to Lie" has good lyrics too. "Don't want to die in a cool dark room with ivy filling the windows, low in a dark park two crystal lovers and one broken heart beneath barren willow, weeping in a river high in a wind howl, against pitiful man home, stand those without underneath stench sky" "Fruhling Flowers (For Claudia)" is decent. "There's a jovial land of army girls, singing out on the street, a child of ours is done to dust, as often as ladies meet, how often our ladies meet". Check out the lyrics from "Lady Life". "Oh lady life, what are we gonna do? Children born in a young sea, let the water shape thee, oh lady blues ain't it hard? I didn't think that I'd lose you but I did, I don't care what you do even when it's wrong, as long as I'm strong enough lady blues"

Well what would an Edgar Broughton album be without another "Roadhouse Blues" knockoff. Yup yet *another* one, even by this point when the band had lost most of its identity they still managed to come up with a heavy blues rocker. "Love Gang" is pretty good vocally because it reminds
of... you know... that guy. But I don't care, I enjoy this song. Love the moody piano change in the middle that takes us into a splendid guitar solo.

Even though I'm giving this album 3 stars, you know I actually like it for the most part. It's just not what I thought it would be. Actually it sort of is what I thought it'd be so let me clarify, it's not what I *wanted* it to be. The band going more commercial and losing the edgy subject matter, top notch vocal melodies and overall bizarreness. Oh well, no band can remain great forever however the lyrics are pretty solid for the most part. Bandages has its share of cool ideas such as the inclusion of the mandolin, tambourines, marimbas and other stuff that shows a band trying to stretch into something bigger even if the vocals aren't as good as usual.

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