Monday, June 20, 2016

Pete Brown & Ian Lynn - 1977 - Party In The Rain

Pete Brown & Ian Lynn
Party In The Rain

01. Broken Windscreen Dance
02. White Room
03. Big City Cowboy
04. Walk into the Sun
05. Come Back
06. Still Have the Love
07. I Read the Funky Times
08. Party in the Rain
09. Old Rock Singer
10. Later Days of Time
11. Barbed Wire Nightdress
12. Summer Hills
13. Patterns

Pete Brown is perhaps best known for his song writing collaborations with Jack Bruce for both Cream and for Jack's solo albums. His lyrics for such classic songs as White Room, Sunshine of Your Love, Politician and I Feel Free have been hits for both Cream and artists such as David Bowie and Belinda Carlisle. These songs still feature as the highlights of stage shows by both Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce and have been used in soundtracks for such regarded films as Goodfellas and True Lies.

Pete Brown began his career as a professional poet in 1960, performing regularly with others such as Mike Horowitz (with whom he formed The New Departures poetry and jazz group). Highpoints in this period included Brown and Horowitz representing Britain at the Paris Biennale in 1961 and performances at The Royal Albert Hall in 1965 and 1966 with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley.

Always a lover of jazz and blues, Pete was a regular feature of the burgeoning British Blues and R&B scene of the mid-Sixties. His friendship with pioneer Graham Bond led to him collaborating with both Graham and members of The Graham Bond Organisation; Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. When Ginger Baker formed Cream with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton in 1966, Pete was invited to collaborate on original material by Baker. Although the Baker / Brown partnership failed to bear fruit, Pete established a very productive partnership with Jack Bruce that was to continue throughout Cream's existence and into Jack Bruce's solo career.

Pete's first group was The First Real Poetry Band which featured John McLaughlin on guitar. Although the band recorded a series of demos for Polydor, a record deal was not forthcoming. Brown's first foray on vinyl was with The Battered Ornaments (featuring Chris Spedding on guitar) on the single The Week Looked Good on Paper in early 1969. The Ornaments were one of the earliest signings to EMI's progressive label Harvest and recorded the album A Meal You Can Shake Hands With in the Dark before Pete departed the group on the eve of their support slot on The Rolling Stones legendary Hyde Park concert in July 1969.

Upon leaving Battered Ornaments, Pete formed the band Piblokto! and recorded two excellent  albums for Harvest, (Things May Come and Things May Go, But The Art School Dance Goes on Forever and Thousands on a Raft) and several singles including Flying Hero Sandwich. Piblokto! were a popular attraction on the concert and festival circuit, particularly in France where the band attained chart success in both the single and album listings. The classic Piblokto! song Thousands on a Raft still features in Pete's live set to this day.

With Piblokto! folding in 1971, Pete Brown formed the outfit Bond and Brown with Graham Bond recording the excellent Lost Tribe EP and the album Two Heads are Better Than One.

Bond's erratic behaviour led to the band disbanding in 1973. Pete then worked as an A&R man for Deram records and recorded the highly regarded poetry album The Not Forgotten Association for the label and the unreleased single Night's in Armour / Barbed Wire Night Dress which featured contributions from Jeff Beck and Jack Bruce.

During this time Pete had also written extensively for Jack Bruce on the highly regarded  albums Songs For a Tailor, Harmony Row, Out of the Storm, How's Tricks and Jet Set Jewel (recorded in 1978 but unreleased until 2003 by Universal Music).

Pete,s last album in the 70,s was Party in the Rain with Ian Lynn. The advent of the Punk Rock explosion led to Pete opting to retire from performing and saw his energies diverted into screenplay writing alongside his lyric composition. In the 1980's Pete returned to performing and to producing. Since then he has worked with artists such as Vivian Stanshall, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Peter Green and recorded two albums with former Piblokto! and Man keyboard player, Phil Ryan (Ardours of the Lost Rake and Coals to Jerusalem).

At the end of the 1990's Pete formed Pete Brown and the Interocetors featuring Mo Nazam on Guitar,
David Hadley Ray on Bass, Dave Munch Moore on Keyboards and Simon Edgoose on Drums, whose live performances include material from Pete's work with Cream, Jack Bruce, Piblokto! and Phil Ryan. With the release of the forthcoming Live at the Borderline album Pete Brown and the Interocetors are currently planning extensive live work in 2004 alongside songwriting collaborations with Jack Bruce (on the albums Shadows in the Air and More Jack Than God) and artists such as Journey guitarist  Neal Schon.

Pete Brown continues to be the ultimate writer, composer and performer, always delivering the unexpected.

Pete Brown & Piblokto! - 1973 - My Last Band

Pete Brown & Piblokto!
My Last Band

01. High Flying Electric Bird
02. Broken Magic
03. Station Song Platform Two
04. Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments - The Week Looked Good on Paper
05. Flying Hero Sandwich
06. Thousands on a Raft
07. My Last Band
08. Golden Country Kingdom
09. Living Life Backwards
10. Can´t Get Off the Planet

Pete Brown & Piblokto (all, except A4):
- Pete Brown - vocals, cornish slide whistle, tambourine, percussion, panpipes, trumpet, talking drum
- Jim Mullen - guitars, bass
- Dave Thompson - keyboards, soprano saxophone
- Roger Brunn - bass guitar
- Rob Tait - drums
- Roger Brunn - bass guitar
- Brian Breeze - guitar, panpipes
-  Phil Ryan - keyboards, trombone
- John Pugwash Weathers - drums

Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments (A4):
- Pete Brown - vocals, trumpet
- Dick-Heckstall-Smith, George Khan - tenor saxophones
- Chris Spedding - guitar, harmonica, violin, chittarra
- Charlie Hart - violin, keyboards
- Butch Potter - bass
- Pete Bailey - congas
- Rib Tait - drums

Compilation of material issued on singles & LPs in 1970, except A4 (in 1968) & B4 (in 1969)

Before the cd-reissues came along, My Last Band was the rescue when playing "Thousands On A Raft" just was not enough. A friend of mine had "Art School Dance", and we pooled our Pete Brown collections, but then I moved...

Despite being billed as "Pete Brown and Piblokto", this Harvest Heritage vinyl also features a track by Brown and The Battered Ornaments, a mono recording of "The Week Looked Good On Paper".

A great little collection, with several interesting non-album tracks, like "Broken Magic" and "Flying Hero Sandwich", as well as "Art School Dance" highlights "Golden Country Kingdom" and "High Flying Electric Bird".

Pete Brown & Piblokto! - 1970 - Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever

Pete Brown & Piblokto!
Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever

01. Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes On for Ever 5:03
02. High Flying Electric Bird 4:15
03. Someone Like You 5:46
04. Walk for Charity, Run for Money 5:28
05. Then I Must Go On and Can I Keep 3:50
06. My Love Is Gone Far Away 2:47
07. Golden Country Kingdom 3:09
08. Firesong 5:59
09. Country Morning 6:47
10. Flying Hero Sandwich [bonus] 3:18
11. My Last Band [bonus] 5:05

Pete Brown (vocals, percussion)
Rob Tait (drums)
Jim Mullen (guitar)
Roger Bunn (bass)
Dave Thompson (organ)
Steve Glover (bass)
Brian Breeze (guitar)
Phil Ryan (keyboards)
John "Pugwash" Weathers (drums)

Never have I been more thankful for the phrase “the title track”.  The album’s ponderous title announces that this group must be taken on its own terms.  Perhaps due to this, Piblokto! never came close to “household name” status, especially in the States, but the group’s two albums are essential for anyone who has ever wondered what Jack Bruce’s post-_Harmony Row_ albums might have sounded like had he not taken the ill-advised detour that was West, Bruce, & Laing.  Brown doesn’t have the voice of his longtime songwriting partner Bruce, in fact, Brown has a voice in the manner that Neil Young and Willie Nelson do.  It’s serviceable, but you’ll either acquire a taste for it quickly, or never.

The material though, is largely superlative.  It’s a tribute to Brown’s talent that he could split his lyric writing efforts, and still come up with such an engaging set.  “High Flying Electric Bird” , with its inventive use of slide whistle, is an instant classic.  “Someone Like You” hides a slap at a former lover in pretty notes and uplifting imagery.  Unlike his previous band, the Battered Ornaments, Piblokto! is a top-rank outfit.  Guitarist Jim Mullen is particularly strong.

Although Brown has been quoted as saying that he had no use for the late ‘70’s punk movement, “Walk For Charity, Run For Money” has an insistent, punkish edge that anticipates that genre.  Roger Bunn’s basswork on “Then I Must Go, And Can I Keep” is reminiscent of Bruce’s busy virtuosity.  There’s not a bad track here, but be advised that there is little here that’s short and radio oriented.  The country-tinged “Golden Country Kingdom” comes closest, but Brown’s surrealistic lyrics are anathema to radio success.  It worked for “White Room”, but that was the exception, rather than the rule.  When Brown tries to be more accessible, he usually succeeds in simply making his surrealism sillier, as in the non-album “Flying Hero Sandwich”. 

The Piblokto! albums aren’t for those who are looking for easy listening music.  There’s a lot to appreciate here, if you’ll devote the time to the group’s catalogue that it deserves.  If you fail to give this your full attention, it’ll zoom over your head like an electric bird.

Pete Brown & Piblokto! - 1970 - Thousands on a Raft

Pete Brown & Piblokto!
Thousands on a Raft

01.  Aeroplane Head Woman 6:39
02.  Station Song Platform Two 3:37
03.  Highland Song 17:00
04. If They Could Only See Me Now - Parts One and Two 1:23
05. Got a Letter From a Computer 5:46
06. Thousands on a Raft 7:06

Pete Brown (vocals, percussion)
Rob Tait (drums)
Jim Mullen (guitar)
Roger Bunn (bass)
Dave Thompson (organ)
Steve Glover (bass)
Brian Breeze (guitar)
Phil Ryan (keyboards)
John "Pugwash" Weathers (drums)

The opening track of this album, “Aeroplane Head Woman” sounds like the kind of Cream / Traffic blend that Blind Faith was searching for.  It would be one of this band’s more commercial tracks if not for its nearly seven minute length, but therein lies the problem.  It’s not a repetitive “Hey Jude” kind of seven minutes.  It needs the time to tell its story.  Pete Brown seems to be searching for a way to make his material more accessible without compromising its artistic vision.

He succeeds on the album’s second track “Station Song, Platform Two”, which is absolutely the most beautiful lyric he’s ever written.  This is the kind of mix of poetry and rock that Liverpool Scene was aiming for, but couldn’t quite grasp.  Jack Bruce fans, you’re missing something if you don’t know this one.

Bruce fans' jaws will drop as well, at the opening notes of “If They Could Only See Me Now (Parts One and Two)” , as it features the same ringing guitar lines that open West, Bruce & Laing’s “Like A Plate”, before heading in a jazz-rock direction.

Most people who find fault with this album blame the 17-minute instrumental workout “Highland Song”.  Of course these are mostly the same people who’ll analyze every note of the 22-minute “Whipping Post”.  The virtuosity on display in both tracks is the same.  Piblokto! is progressive, rather than blues based, so “Highland Song” sounds more like Tasavillan Presidentti than it does the Allmans, but it holds my attention as well as Duane and Gregg do.

The album closes with Brown’s most evocative lyric in the title track.  It seems to begin with a nod to the circumstances of his dismissal from the Battered Ornaments before becoming a metaphor for the general animosity of the entire human condition. A beautiful Jim Mullen guitar solo makes it arguably Piblokto!’s finest hour, and a fitting way to end.