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Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Oklahoma - Oklahoma (1977 us, fine southern soft rock, 2021 korean remaster)

The production of Oklahoma album was handled by a couple of West Coast heavyweights: Terry Melcher – who produced the Byrds, The Mamas and The Papas and Paul Revere and the Raiders, among many other acts – and Mark Lindsay, the vocalist on all of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ ‘60s hits, as well as a successful early ’70s solo artist. As far as I knew, neither Melcher nor Lindsay had any ties to our state.

Here was a mystery that demanded answers. And luckily, I found just the guy who could provide them. He’s guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Steve Crossley, formerly of the band Oklahoma, who’s still a busy performer in and around Oklahoma City. Engaging and upbeat, he seemed happy to talk about the group and its brief turn on the national stage.

Interestingly, Crossley says that Oklahoma’s formation was tied to the end of another major-label act from the Sooner State – Buckwheat, a group out of Erick, Okla., that recorded four albums for London Records in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. Its personnel included a young woman who would become one of Tulsa’s best-known pop vocalists, the late Debbie Campbell, along with her then-husband, Dub Campbell.

In the mid-‘70s, after Buckwheat split up, “their drummer, Sonny Ray Griffiths, came back to Oklahoma City, supposedly looking for a replacement band for London Records,” Crossley remembers. “So I moved out to L.A. with him. We got a house gig in Costa Mesa at the Lucky Lion, and Dub Campbell came down and saw the band and was interested in playing with us. He plays great fiddle and guitar. So he signed up with us.”
Oklahoma’s formation was tied to the end of another major-label act from the Sooner State – Buckwheat.

Unfortunately, London Records didn’t make a deal with the group, and neither did any other record company. Although the band, dubbed Pearly Hawkins, was getting plenty of work on the West Coast, Crossley opted to return to Oklahoma City, where he soon joined another rock outfit, Ringes. After several personnel changes, Ringes would become Oklahoma. 

“The original Ringes members were Dwight Trahern on drums, Ben Blakemore on bass and vocals, Danny White on vocals and percussion, Speedy West Jr. on guitar, Joe Intrieri on keys, and myself, with Michael Slack and Lynn Bailey as our sound engineers,” Crossley says.

“We made a demo, and I played it for Dub. Dub knew Mark (Lindsay) and got it to him somehow, and then Mark and Terry Melcher came and saw us. They really liked it, went back to L.A., and brought Mike Curb back with ‘em. We did a showcase for Mike at the old Long Branch Saloon in Oklahoma City. They were excited and signed us to a deal.

“Whenever they got the money to do the deal,” he adds, “they moved back here (to Oklahoma City) for about a month, and we cut that stuff over at the old Producers Workshop, most of it. Curb was just starting Curb Records at that time, and he subbed us out to Capitol.”
While Curb (who’s not credited on the disc) was on his way to becoming a famous music-business executive, and Melcher was a very well-known producer, the star name in the production team belonged to Lindsay, the voice on such rock ‘n’ roll classics as “Kicks” and “Hungry.”

At the time of his affiliation with Ringes, Lindsay’s last charted single as a solo act was several years behind him (although he continues to tour and record to this day). For Oklahoma, he was all over the place, not only co-producing, but also singing background vocals, engineering and mixing the record.

“Oh, he was really working hard,” recalls Crossley. “He’d quit refined sugar, gotten on this hopped-up diet, and he had a lot of energy. The neat thing was that when those guys came back here for a month, staying at the house of a friend of ours, we got to know them pretty well, and pretty quickly. We became pretty good buddies. It was cool.”

But the producers also made some changes, cutting the band to four members: Crossley, Blakemore, guitarist Don Juntunen (who also continues to perform music around Oklahoma City) and drummer Sam Flores. They also changed the name of the group “because they thought Ringes sounded too much like Wings,” Crossley notes with a chuckle. He believes the new moniker may also have been influenced by the band Kansas, which was becoming hot at the time.

Unfortunately, nothing similar happened with Oklahoma. Capitol released a single from the disc, the Crossley-penned “What You Treat Me So Bad For,” and then the album; neither made much of a showing. Talk of a national tour fizzled, and Oklahoma played only a handful of dates.

As often happens in these sorts of situations, frustration and unmet expectations led to friction within the group, and Crossley left after a New Year’s Eve date in Oklahoma City at the end of 1977. Although the band went on for a while with replacement members, including Steve Hardin, the noted keyboardist and songwriter from Bartlesville, Capitol Records soon dropped the act and it broke up for good.

“You know how it is, with egos and everything,” says Crossley with another chuckle. “It just goes from, ‘We’re on top of the world’ to ‘Hey, man! You’re not playing the right notes!’ Some of the guys kind of got ‘egoed’ out and thought it should have been way bigger than it was. I was lucky to know guys like Dub (Campbell) and Michael Smotherman, who’d already had major-label deals. If I had a question about something, I could call ‘em and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on,’ and they could tell me pretty much what to expect.”

Crossley ended up playing with Smotherman, another Buckwheat alumnus who went on to make his own significant mark in the industry. That job led to a songwriting and performing deal with Glen Campbell, and Crossley worked with a number of other music stars as well, returning to Oklahoma City for good in 1982, when his son, Steven, was born.

These days, he’s getting plenty of gigs both as a solo artist and with OKC bands like the Blue Cats and Hoppy Niles’ One-Armed Bandit. He even played a couple of jobs with Mark Lindsay when Lindsay’s touring brought him to the area. Obviously, Crossley harbors no ill feelings toward his former producer – or, it appears, about the one-off performance of Oklahoma as a big-time recording act.

“Because I was getting that advice (from Smotherman and Campbell),” he reflects, “I think I was a little bit cooler about it than some of the other guys. It was just hard for them to understand why the wheel wasn’t turning as fast as it should’ve been. I really didn’t know either, but I was a little bit more prepared, because I knew a little more about the reality of it.”
by John Wooley, March 29, 2011

1. One More Round (Steve Crossley) - 4:13
2. Whatcha Treatin Me So Bad For? (Steve Crossley) - 2:26
3. Tracy - 3:34
4. Together Now - 2:57
5. Magic - 3:10
6. Piece Of My Life - 2:52
7. Love You Tonight - 3:08
8. Ain't It Sad? (Ben Blakemore, Don Juntunen, Joe Intrieri, Sam Flores, Steve Crossley) - 6:33
All compositions by Ben Blakemore except where stated

*Ben Blakemore - Bass, Vocals 
*Don Juntunen - Lead Guitar
*Sam Flores - Drums, Vocals 
*Steve Crossley - Guitar, Vocals
*Joe Intrieri - Keyboards
*Max Gronenthal - Keyboards 
*Michael Lewis - Keyboards
*Danny White - Vocals
*Mark Lindsay - Vocals 
*Max Gronenthal - Vocals
*Terry Melcher - Vocals

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Various Artists - Morning Of The Earth (1972 australia, fantastic blend of folk prog soft classic rock, 2002 remaster)

In 1972, Albert Falzon made a film that would forever change the way the world thought about surfing. The film was Morning of the Earth. For many people it was the very first time they came to recognise surfing as a complete lifestyle. This recognition, coupled with mind-blowing, innovative surfing made the film a classic that has remained vital for over 40 years.Albe’s portrayal of all things pure and simple influenced generations, and passed on an enduring sprit to our culture, our music, and our lifestyle.

Morning of the Earth took a unique approach to music. For the first time, music was not treated as a background or incidental to the vision on the screen. The music was the narrator, with each track played in its entirety. The original soundtrack produced the Australian #1 single Open Up Your Heart and was the first Australian soundtrack to achieve gold sales. It was also recently included in the 100 Best Australian Albums.
Artist - Title - Composer
1. G. Wayne Thomas - Morning Of The Earth (G. Wayne Thomas) - 5:06
2. Terry Hannagan - I'll Be Alright (John Capek, Terry Hannagan) - 4:05
3. Tamam Shud - First Things First (Tim Gaze) - 4:06
4. Brian Cadd - Sure Feels Good (Brian Cadd) - 3:44
5. Ticket - Awake (Eddie Hansen, Trevor Tombleson, Ricky Ball, Paul Woolright) - 5:20
6. G. Wayne Thomas - Getting Back (G. Wayne Thoma) - 5:06
7. G. Wayne Thomas - Open Up Your Heart (G. Wayne Thoma) - 3:42
8. Ticket - Dream Chant (Eddie Hansen, Trevor Tombleson, Ricky Ball, Paul Woolright) - 8:13
9. John J. Francis - Simple Ben (John J. Francis) - 7:43
10.Tamam Shud - Bali Waters (Lindsay Bjerre) - 6:16
11.Brian Cadd - Making It On Your Own (Brian Cadd) - 5:56
12.Peter Howe (Ullawatu) (Peter Howe) - 2:53
13.G. Wayne Thomas - Day Comes (G. Wayne Thomas) - 2:55
14.Tamam Shud - Sea The Swells (Lindsay Bjerre) - 6:15
15.Peter Howe (I'm Alive) (Peter Howe) - 3:42
16.Brian Cadd - Come With Me (Brian Cadd) - 4:55

Related Acts

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Blue Oyster Cult - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees (1975 us, superb hard rock live blast, 2013 audiophile remaster)

On Your Feet or on Your Knees, Blue Öyster Cult's first live album (there would be two more), was also their first to peak inside the Top 40 best-sellers, which is more of an indication of the audience the group was building up through extensive touring than of its quality. Songs that had a tight, concentrated impact on studio albums got elongated here, and that impact was dissipated. 

And the song selection left a great deal to be desired if this was to be a fitting summation of the band's career so far. Perhaps by their 1974 tour, BÖC had dropped such classics from their first album as "Transmaniacon MC," "I'm on the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep," and "Stairway to the Stars," but the less impressive material from the third album was no substitute. The album did mark the first commercial release of a version of "Buck's Boogie" as well as covers of the Yardbirds' "I Ain't Got You" and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild." [A Strictly Limited Collector's Edition was released in 2013.] 
by William Ruhlmann
1. The Subhuman (Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman) - 7:28
2. Harvester of Eyes (Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom, Richard Meltzer) - 4:56
3. Hot Rails To Hell (Joe Bouchard) - 5:38
4. The Red & the Black (Albert Bouchard, Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman) - 4:32
5. Seven Screaming Dizbusters (Albert Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Joe Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) - 8:49
6. Buck's Boogie (Donald Roeser) - 7:12
7. Last Days of May (Donald Roeser) - 4:37
8. Cities on Flame (Albert Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) - 4:04
9. Me 262 (Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman) - 8:22
10.Before the Kiss (A Redcap) (Allen Lanier, Donald Roeser, Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman) - 5:12
11.Maserati Gt (I Ain't Got You) (Clarence Carter) - 8:58
12.Born To Be Wild (Mars Bonfire) - 6:25

Blue Oyster Cult
*Eric Bloom - Lead vocals, Keyboards, Stun Guitar
*Albert Bouchard - Drums, Vocals 
*Joe Bouchard: Bass, Vocals
*Allen Lanier: Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar, Synthesizers
*Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - Lead guitar, Vocals

1972-79  Blue Oyster Cult - Original Album Classics (2008 five disc box set)
1974/77  Blue Oyster Cult - Spectres / Secret Treaties (2007 bonus tracks remaster and 2014 blu spec remaster) 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Flamin' Groovies - Supersnazz (1969 us, impressive straight ahead boogie 'n' roll garage punk, 2000 bonus tracks and 2013 Audiophile remaster)

Founded by Ron Greco, Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney, the American Garage Rock band The Flamin' Groovies had their start in San Francisco in the mid Sixties. The debut album Supersnazz was released in 1969, containing both re-creations of '50s Rock 'n Roll songs and more melodic tracks. It made the group one of the forerunners of the Power Pop movement of the '70s—a genre the Flamin' Groovies had a major influence on and contributed significant work to.

Supersnazz has achieved a reputation among not just Flamin' Groovies fans, but lovers of Rock & Roll in general. It held up very well across the decades and is still able to make its own case for greatness as an impressive document of straight-ahead Rock & Roll circa 1969. It's both fully contemporary to its time and timeless, which makes the album a classic work.

They played a mixture of dirty, blues-rock with a smattering of British invasion rock and got caught in the shifting hippy scene.

Consequently, at that time, they looked (and sounded) way out of place. Nevertheless the band still played wonderful music and were arguably more appreciated in Europe than in their home land of the USA.

Look around. Bookshelves and, more increasingly, the internet, are just full of irritatingly inspirational soundbites on being a better person, having a better life, being happy et al. Social media areas such as LinkedIn seem to be populated by nothing else. Well, obviously, the Flamin Groovies were way ahead of the self help game because they literally ignored what was going on around them and ploughed a furrow that was all of their very own. These guys believed in themselves, were true to themselves, were brimming full of self confidence and refused to be shaken by outside criticism. They really needed all of that too because, about five minutes after this album hit the streets in 1969, it hit the bargain bins with a thud. It was toally ignored.

Some albums just don’t hold up over the years but this one has grown, like a hardy flower peeking from between concrete slabs, growing in recognisable quality and subsequent reputation as each year passes. It’s an incredible piece of straight ahead rock’n’roll. Contemporary to its time (and yet simple enough to be almost timseless) but with none of the artificial period nostalgia and fun (oh yes, lots and lots of fun), this is an album to seek out and wallow in. You too can bathe in a well that is occupied by proto-’70s punk, ’50s New Orleans R&B, country music, ragtime…you name it.

From the Stones-esque Love Have Mercy, the balladic A Part From That, the rocking The Girl Can’t Help It, Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu to the country vibes of Brushfire, this album was and is one of the most original rock albums in existence.

1. Love Have Mercy (Roy A. Loney) - 4:28
2. The Girl Can't Help It (Bobby Troup) - 3:28
3. Laurie Did It (Roy A. Loney) - 3:48
4. A Part From That (Cyril Jordan, Roy A. Loney) - 1:57
5. Rocking Pneumonia And Boogie Woogie Flu (Huey P. Smith, J. Vincent Edwards) - 2:41
6. The First One's Free (Roy A. Loney) - 3:38
7. Pagan Rachel (Al Dexter) - 1:52
8. Somethin' Else / Pistol Packin' Mama (Bob Cochran, Shari K. Sheeley) - 3:43
9. Brushfire (Cyril Jordan, Roy A. Loney) - 3:12
10.Bam Balam (Cyril Jordan, Roy A. Loney) - 1:47
11.Around The Corner (Cyril Jordan, Roy A. Loney) - 4:05
12.Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu (Huey P. Smith, J. Vincent Edwards) - 2:36
13.The First One's Free (Roy A. Loney) - 3:37
14.Somethin' Else (Bob Cochran) - 2:06
15.Laurie Did It (Roy A. Loney) - 3:47
Bonus Tracks 12-15 only on 2000 Sundazed edition

The Flamin' Groovies
*Roy A. Loney - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Handclaps
*Cyril Jordan - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Handclaps
*Tim Lynch - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Handclaps
*George Alexander - Bass Guitar, Harmonica, Handclaps
*Danny Mihm - Drums, Percussion, Handclaps
*Mike Lang - Keyboards (Tracks 1,5)


Friday, November 12, 2021

The Liverpool Scene - Amazing Adventures Of The Liverpool Scene (1968-70 uk, classic comical streetwise poetry anthology surrounded by explicitly rock-based ensemble, 2009 remaster)


The Liverpool Scene coalesced semi-accidentally around poet and painter Adrian Henri, one of the chief architects of the city’s multi-media “events” of the early-to-mid-60s. Today, being a poet is to risk being battered, de-kegged and set on fire. Back then, however, poetry was a noble, rather sexy and decidedly rock’n’roll calling, thanks in no small measure to the witty, perceptive and pretension-free work of Henri and his “Mersey Sound” contemporaries. Fronting a band was a logical and inevitable progression, and Henri did just that from 1967-70.

The Amazing Adventures Of… compiles the many highlights of The Liverpool Scene’s brief career, and is a five-course meal for the senses in a Pot Noodle world. Herein you will find giddy avant-garde experimentation (We’ll All Be Spacemen Before We Die), wry cultural commentary (Bomb Commercials), raucous pastiche (The Woo Woo, Baby, I’ve Got Those Fleetwood Mac Chicken Shack John Mayall Can’t Fail Blues), tender acoustic folk (The Raven, Burdock River Run), unabashed romanticism (The Only Thing It Needed Was You) and, throughout, a shining intelligence and genuinely poetic sensibility which gladdens the heart and replenishes the soul.

The contributions of guitarist/songwriter Andy Roberts, poet/ saxophonist Mike Evans and songwriter Mike Hart were as crucial to the band’s inimitable alchemy as Henri’s antic wit and benign presence. John Peel and Led Zeppelin adored them: hear the extraordinary key compositions Made in USA and The Entry Of Christ Into Liverpool to find out exactly why.
by Marco Rossi, 21st August 2009

Disc 1
1. Love Is (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Percy Jones, Brian Dodson, Mike Evans) - 1:17
2. Batpoem (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts) - 1:47
3. Son, Son (Mike Hart) - 4:18
4. Tramcar To Frankenstein (Andy Roberts, Mike Evans) - 7:47
5. The Woo Woo (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Percy Jones, Brian Dodson, Mike Evans) - 3:35
6. Burdock River Run (Andy Roberts) - 4:17
7. Happy Burial Blues (Maurice Cockrill, Mike Evans, Mike Hart) - 6:17
8. Universes (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Mike Hart, Percy Jones, Brian Dodson, Mike Evans) - 6:20
9. I'm Just A Simple Boy (Mike Hart) - 2:17
10.Baby (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts) - 2:44
11.Percy Parslow's Hamster Farm (Andy Roberts) - 3:56
12.Bomb Commercials (Mike Hart) - 2:20
13.Elsie Straws Saga (Adrian Henri) - 3:22
14.Wildwest (Adrian Henri) - 6:28
15.Colours (Mike Evans) - 5:23
16.Gliders, Parks (Mike Hart) - 5:31
17.Love Story (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts) - 11:20

Disc 2
1. The Entry Of Christ Into Liverpool (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Percy Jones, Brian Dodson, Mike Evans) - 7:49
2. We'll All Be Spacemen Before We Die (Andy Roberts, Percy Jones, Brian Dodson, Mike Evans) - 5:50
3. Human Tapeworm (Andy Roberts) - 3:27
4. The Morning The Sky Went Away (Andy Roberts, Mike Evans) - 1:43
5. Mental Astronaut (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts, Percy Jones, Brian Dodson, Mike Evans) - 4:01
6. See The Conkering Heroine Come (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts) - 4:29
7. Winter Poem (Adrian Henri, Percy Jones) - 3:22
8. Come Into The Perfumed Garden, Maud (Adrian Henri) - 7:55
9. The Raven (Andy Roberts) - 2:50
10.The Only Thing It Needed Was You (Mike Evans) - 0:54
11.I've Got These Fleetwood Mac Chicken Shack John Mayall Can't Fail Blues (Adrian Henri) - 5:37
12.64 (Andy Roberts) - 2:32
13.Night Song (Adrian Henri, Andy Roberts) - 2:18
14.G.B.S. Blues (Mike Evans) - 3:31
15.Made In USA (Adrian Henri, Mike Evans) - 21:59
16.Rainbow Poem (Adrian Henri) - 0:32

The Liverpool Scene
*Adrian Henri - Vocals, Poet
*Percy Jones - Bass, Harmonica
*Brian Dodson - Drums
*Mike Hart - Guitar, Vocals
*Andy Roberts - Guitar, Vocals, Accordion, Harmonica, Tin Whistle, Violin, Glockenspiel
*Mike Evans - Poet, Tenor, Alto Saxophone
*Pete Clarke - Drums
*Karl Jenkins - Oboe, Baritone Saxophone
*Ian Carr - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
*Malcolm Griffiths - Trombone

Related Acts
1972  Plainsong - Plainsong (2013 japan remaster) 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Outlaws - Lady In Waiting (1976 us, exceptional country southern rock, 2018 remaster)

The Outlaws, a southern rock band who also incorporated strong country influences, a triple guitar attack and exquisite harmonies, first came onto the scene with their classic self titled debut album in 1975. It featured hits such as 'There Goes Another Love Song' and the live favourite 'Green Grass And High Tides'

The band had much going for them, with Hughie Thomasson, Henry Paul and Billy Jones all being skilled singers, songwriters and guitar players. 'Lady In Waiting' was their second album, issued in 1976, and serves as a fitting sequel to the well received first record. 'Breaker Breaker' is a superb slice of Eagles-like 70s country rock, while the bluegrass infused 'South Carolina' will get feet tapping in no time. A first class cover of 'Freeborn Man' and the Thomasson penned 'Just For You' are both fine examples of the band showing their southern rock roots and the supremely catchy 'Lover Boy' highlights how well the band's three vocalists blend on a chorus.

Closing out with the excellent 'Stick Around For Rock And Roll', 'Lady In Waiting' is a tremendous entry into The Outlaws discography and if you haven't got it, this reissue is well worth picking up.

The band would follow this up with 'Hurry Sundown' in 1977 and a live album in 1978. In 1979, the band would re-group after the departure of Henry Paul, who would go on to form his own band. Freddie Salem would be drafted in as a replacement and the band made the magnificent 'Playin' To Win' album, a much more rock orientated effort than their previous work. To see where the story goes net, you need the next batch of the reissues, reviewed here. In the meantime though, enjoy this sublime example of 70s Southern Rock with a country soul.
by James Gaden, March 26, 2018

1. Breaker Breaker (Hughie Thomasson) - 3:00
2. South Carolina (Henry Paul) - 3:06
3. Ain't So Bad (Billy Jones) - 3:49
4. Freeborn Man (Keith Allison, Mark Lindsay) - 4:51
5. Girl From Ohio (Henry Paul) - 5:03
6. Lover Boy (Hughie Thomasson) - 3:59
7. Just For You (Hughie Thomasson) - 3:17
8. Prisoner (Billy Jones) - 3:58
9. Stick Around For Rock 'n' Roll (Hughie Thomasson) - 6:36

*Hughie Thomasson - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Billy Jones - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Monte Yoho - Drums
*Frank O'Keefe - Bass Guitar
*Henry Paul - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals

1973-81  Outlaws – Anthology / Live 'n' Rare (2012 four disc set release) 
1975  The Outlaws - The Outlaws (2001 remaster)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Brown's Home Brew - Brown's Home Brew (1972 uk, folk country soft rock, 2020 korean remaster)

With a career that began in the 1970s and was still going strong in the opening decades of the 21st century, Joe Brown has cut a unique swath across British rock & roll. The east London-raised artist is most well-known for his bittersweet U.K. hit "A Picture of You," from 1962, the same year in which the Beatles opened for him on a string of dates. However, Brown's prolific run of early hits came to an end with the rise of Merseybeat, after which he increasingly pursued acting roles and became a broader entertainer. The '70s saw him unveil a new act, Brown's Home Brew, cementing his reputation as a musician's musician. Upon moving to Henley-on-Thames early the following decade, he reinforced his close friendship with his new neighbor George Harrison when the pair bonded over the ukulele. Following Harrison's death in 2001, Brown closed the Concert for George tribute show at the Royal Albert Hall (at the request of Harrison's wife Olivia), with a moving solo uke rendition of "I'll See You in My Dreams." His performance is reputed to have been the catalyst for renewed public interest in the instrument.

Born Joseph Roger Brown in Swarby, Lincolnshire in 1941, Brown proved a natural guitarist from an early age, and in 1956, at age 15, he formed the Spacemen, a skiffle group with whom he started his career in entertainment. The band -- whose ranks included bassist Peter Oakman and his older brother Tony Oakman on banjo and guitar -- later switched to rock & roll, and was subsequently spotted by impresario Larry Parnes, who was in the process of signing up lot of young vocal talent in an effort to get in on the rock & roll boom. The Spacemen became Parnes' resident band, backing such figures as Vince Eager, Johnny Gentle, and Marty Wilde on the early Parnes package tours. The group also had the good fortune to be spotted by producer Jack Good, who was putting together the house band for his new television music showcase Boy Meets Girl. Brown was already a prodigious player, and he was hired as lead guitarist for the house orchestra at the age of 18; he was proficient in authentic American-style rock & roll, country, and country-blues, and stood out from the competition.

He was signed to Decca Records that same year; his first two singles, "People Gotta Talk" and "Jellied Eels," issued in 1959 and 1960, respectively, failed to chart. But his third, "The Darktown Strutters Ball," reached number 34 on the U.K. charts in 1960. The group by this time was rechristened the Bruvvers, owing to the fact that they weren't using the Spacemen name anymore, and had no official name, but were, as Brown put it -- in his uniquely Cockney-styled way -- "like bruvvers." Brown left Decca for Pye Records in 1961, the latter company using his single "Crazy Mixed Up Kid" to launch its Piccadilly imprint. Only two of his next four singles even reached the Top 40, but Brown was making musical headway (and history) nonetheless. At just about that same time, he appeared as the lead guitarist on Billy Fury's landmark 10" long-player The Sound of Fury, his playing among the highlights of what is generally regarded as one of the best albums to come out of the early English rock & roll boom. His work from that period and on that album has received high praise across the decades from musicians of succeeding generations including Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Brown's own career didn't fully take off until 1962, when he hit the number two spot on the singles charts with "A Picture of You." He was voted the "Top U.K. Vocal Personality" of 1962 in the pages of New Musical Express, and toured that year on a bill that included the Beatles, who were just about to record their debut single, "Love Me Do"; "A Picture of You" was also a personal favorite of both Harrison and Paul McCartney, later even turning up on the "Let It Be" sessions. Brown's next two records, "It Only Took a Minute" and "That's What Love Will Do" also made the Top Ten in 1962 and 1963, but his subsequent recordings were much more modest sellers, only making the Top 30.

Brown was still sufficiently prominent in 1963 to get a film debut late that year, in What a Crazy World, which co-starred Marty Wilde. By that time, however, Brown's hold on the listening public was fading in the face of the Merseybeat boom and the next wave of British rock & roll. He turned increasingly to work in movies, pantomime, and theater musicals, and scored a big success in Charlie Girl on London's West End. Ironically, his occasional penchant for novelty tunes -- which included a recording of "I'm Henry the Eighth" -- anticipated the strategy of such successful mid-'60s pop/rock acts as Herman's Hermits, who parlayed their recording of the latter song into a huge American hit; that same use of novelty tunes in his repertory, however, also made it difficult for listeners of subsequent generations, having heard of Brown's reputation as a first-rate guitarist, to fully absorb some of his recordings, especially the early concert documents, which were weighted heavily toward his Cockney/novelty repertory.

Brown's last chart success of the '60s was a low Top 40 placement for his rendition of "With a Little Help from My Friends" in 1967. He later worked on television in children's programming and game shows, but in 1972, Brown was back in music with a new band, Brown's Home Brew, whose repertory embraced not only rock & roll but also country and gospel music and featured his first wife, Vicki, on vocals. Brown has remained active in music ever since, and crossed paths on record with his old friend Harrison several times in the '70s and '80s; Harrison was also the best man at Brown's wedding to his second wife in 2000. He has continued performing in the 21st century and is also seen frequently on British television in connection with rock & roll-related programming. Brown's 50th year in music, in 2008, saw him receive a U.K. gold award for sales over 100,000 copies of a new best-of collection, as well as complete a 37-date tour, and a Royal Albert Hall concert with Mark Knopfler, Jools Holland, Dave Edmunds, and Chas & Dave. Brown has also received Mojo magazine's lifetime award for outstanding contribution to music after 51 years of recording. In 2009, Brown was given an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth.

The next decade was bookended by documents of his relentless touring ethic -- 2011's Live in Liverpool and 2019's In Concert -- while in 2012 he issued The Ukulele Album, on which he tackled material associated with acts such as the Who, ELO, and Mötorhead. In 2019, Brown celebrated his 60th year in the music business with the release of a lavish, multi-disc box set that traced the course of his career and featured numerous unreleased recordings.
by Bruce Eder

1. Billy Come Down (Joe Brown, Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway) - 3:24
2. Home Brew - 3:24
3. I Wrote A Song - 4:03
4. Poor John - 3:57
5. Marching Season - 3:07
6. Hossannah - 5:16
7. Big Lucy - 3:06
8. Work Song - 3:22
9. Mumbles - 2:24
10.Rabbit Man - 5:03
Words and Music by Joe Brown except track #1

Brown's Home Brew
*Joe Brown - Vocals 
*Vicki Brown - Vocals 
*Peter Oakman - Vocals, Bass Fiddle 
*Dave Hynes - Drums, Vocals 
*Geoff Peters - Bass 
*Ray Mynott - Lead, Slide Guitar, Banjo