(2009) A Meal You Can Shake Hands With In The Dark [With Bonus Tracks]

Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments

... read morePete Brown's debut album may not have been as accessible as those of Cream (for whom he often helped write material) or even the early Jack Bruce (for whom he continued to collaborate as a songwriter). There are similarities, however, though more to Bruce's solo work than to Cream. For one thing...

01:05′:03″ 10 Songs

1
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Dark Lady
5:22
2
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
The Old Man
5:26
3
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Station Song
3:22
4
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
The Politician
12:14
5
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Rainy Taxi Girl
4:46
6
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Morning Call
2:49
7
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Sandcastle
9:22
8
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Travelling Blues Or The New Used Jew's Dues Blues
12:07
9
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
The Week Looked Good On Paper
5:17
10
Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments
Security Blues
4:18
Released 17 April 2009, 2009 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

Review

Pete Brown's debut album may not have been as accessible as those of Cream (for whom he often helped write material) or even the early Jack Bruce (for whom he continued to collaborate as a songwriter). There are similarities, however, though more to Bruce's solo work than to Cream. For one thing, there are those lyrics, which are of a far higher standard than heard on most rock songs, ranging from ominous impressionism to take-out-the-piss political satire. Then there's Brown's voice, which rather resembles a gruff Jack Bruce, and is effective though certainly not as smoothly melodic as Bruce's vocals. And then there's the music, which grew out of the same jazz-blues-rock community that gave birth to the Graham Bond Organisation, Cream, and Colosseum. In fact, two other alumni of that scene, Bond (on organ) and Dick Heckstall-Smith (on saxophone), are among the supporting players, as is a young Chris Spedding. There are also unusual psychedelic and Middle Eastern accents here and there in the arrangements, though tasteful and subdued. Because there aren't the pop hooks of the songs Brown had a hand with in Cream, and because Brown's voice is not that of your average rock frontman, it's not something that ever got a wide audience. But it has its rewards for those looking for something a little more avant-garde and intellectual than much late-'60s psychedelic-prog rock, including the fairly grooving "Dark Lady" (which musically resembles Graham Bond's work), "Station Song" (where the likeness to some of Jack Bruce's more mysterious tracks is highest), and the beguiling downward-spiral melody of "Rainy Taxi Girl." Some of the bluesy tunes are more functional, but the 12-minute "The Politician" -- not the same as the Cream classic "Politician" penned by Brown and Bruce, though there are similarities -- is a highlight, as a very witty and scathing anti-establishment spoken word poem segueing into an off-kilter blues-rocker that exposes the "politician" for the lecherously hypocritical geezer he is. ~ Richie Unterberger