Monday, January 22, 2007

"Brinsley Schwarz" 1970

The UK band Kippington Lodge recorded a series of poor selling mid-1960s pop/rock singles. By 1969 the line up consisted of keyboardist Bib Andrews, singer/guitarist Nick Lowe, guitarist Brinsley Schwarz and drummer Bill Rankin. Expanding their reportoire into psych and California-styled folk-rock, the quartet also adopted a new name - Brinsley Schwarz.

Under the guidance of manager Dave Robinson the band signed with United Artists, debuting with 1970's cleverly titled "Brinsley Schwarz". Largely penned by Lowe, the results were certainly strange. Complete with multi-part vocal harmonies, banks of strumming acoustic guitars and pseudo-hippy lyrics, tracks such as 'Hymn To Me', 'Shining Brightly' and 'Ballad of a Has-Been Beauty Queen' sounded like these guys had been on a CSN&Y bender. In fact the extended 'Lady Constant' sounded so much like a CSN&Y outtake that it's hard to believe they weren't hit with a plagerism suit. Elsewhere 'Rock and Roll Women' and 'What Do You Suggest' bore more than a passing resemblance to Dylan and the Band. While the album's good natured CSN*Y mimickry was mildly enduring (especially in hindsight), it didn't leave much room in the originality category..

The commercial failure was underscored by Robinson's lame brained marketing campaign, which included a decision to showcase the band at a Fillmore East concert opening for Van Morrison. The concert idea might not have been too bad, but Robinson decided to fly all of England's leading rock critics to the New York concert. Things turned increasingly ugly when the band members were initially denied US entry visas. The visas were ultimately approved at the last minute, but left the band members with just enough time to get to New York for the concert. The final blows came when the flight carrying the music critics suffered technical problems and was delayed for hours. Plying the critics with free booze wasn't exactly the smartest thing to do since by the time they finally made it to New York most were tired, frustrated and too drunk to enjoy the concert. Coupled with a lackluster performance and the resulting reviews and publicity were universally critical. Needless to say, sales were dismal.

Sample pic: Click


Anonymous panta said...

Thank you very much!

25 January, 2007 03:43  
Anonymous panta said...

Thank you very much!!

25 January, 2007 03:45  
Anonymous Dale Houstman said...

Nick Lowe has had a very interesting career, going from the brash punk/pop irony of his early work to the "novo-crooner/country daddy" world weary soul of his latest releases, and yet it is all soaked in talent, and two winking eyes.

Thanks for the share...

16 June, 2007 21:45  
Anonymous streaker said...

Thanks Lizardson,

Nick Lowe - This is great stuff....

I especially love the last song - Ballade of a has been beauty...

22 July, 2007 15:13  
Anonymous zappahead said...

thank you for this, brings back long happy memories.

01 July, 2008 23:11  

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