Gary Brooker (1982) Lead Me To The Water (LP) Mercury (SRM-1-4954)

Gary Brooker

Lead Me To The Water

Mercury (SRM-1-4954)

1982

Written and produced by Brooker

*** (noteworthy)

 

You don’t expect much from an aging rocker (almost 40!) backed with lots of English superstars from the previous two decades (Harrison, Collins, Clapton, Albert Lee, Mel Collins, to name a few)–but this ends up an enjoyable set.

Some of the elements are stamped with the 80s–which listeners will likely find either annoying or interesting– but the sound is very much in the Procol Harum tradition, except here the heaviness of that group is replaced with a lighter pop feel.  This isn’t as drenched in organ, but since Brooker doesn’t seem to be purposely distancing himself from his previous band,  the difference between Procol Harum and this set certainly has something do to with the contributions of the band members on this album.  Fortunately these musicians control their egos, and their contributions are part the compositions rather than an excuse to show off.  This clearly remains Brooker’s album.


This was Brooker’s second solo album, and apparently this is his best.  For fans of this singer/keyboard player or his previous band, this is worth a listen.

— winch

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Badfinger (1971) Straight Up (LP) Apple 3387

Badfinger
Straight Up
Apple 3387
1971
Produced by Todd Rundgren
(two cuts produced by George Harrison)
Released December 1971 (US & UK) reached #31 in US.  

 

Noteworthy ***

Badfinger’s third album, containing two more top 10 hits, “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue,” both melancholy pop gems that suggested this band was perhaps a bit more than just a Beatles copycat.  The hits helped the band get plenty of airplay and leave behind a legacy that lasted long after they were gone. 


While the rest of the album resonates with the mood of the hits, it also strives to lift out of the gloom without ever really shaking that melancholy that permeates the sound.  The setis fairly consistent, but many cuts sound a bit lacking alongside the stronger ones.  With some clearly coming out of the fab four, this should interest fans of the Beatles.  For fans of this group, this is essential listening.

This was the last outing that sold well in the States.  (For some reason, they never caught on at home.) All of the songs are written by band members, both of the hits penned by Pete Ham.  While they’d continue releasing albums, few took interest.  Ham would hang himself in 1975.

— winch