on 7 July 2012
Back in the early 80's after I'd exhausted the Beatles catalogue and realised that there was only so much enjoyment to be eeked out of expensive bootlegs of BBC and Let It Be sessions, I turned to the Apple roster. My rationale being that as the Fabs were involved to some extent with the majority of Apple releases then some of that Beatle fairy dust must have rubbed off.
My foray soon came to end after shelling out £40 (£40! In 1983!!) on The Whale by John Taverner. I remember listening to it that Christmas and realising that I'd shelled out a small fortune on a classical LP that meant little or nothing to me. I couldn't even hear Ringo's cow bell that he supposedly played on it.
Before my campaign ended I had picked up Lon and Derek Van Eaton's Brother LP. Even ten tears after release they were still easy to come by, and I got a sealed US copy for next to nothing (at least when compared to The Whale).
To be honest, it was a puzzling LP with no settled style. Nothing grabbed me on it apart from the opening Warm Women and Sweet Music - now there was indeed some Beatle fairy dust on that one!
Now I know why the LP didn't gel; after recording at Apple, the duo went back to the USA to record additional material that in the end bumped some of the original Apple tracks. And to the eternal credit of RPM you get those Apple tracks here, including bizarrely a collaboration with John Taverner. I know, you couldn't make it up.
It's still a bit of a fish out of water. Even with the benefit of hindsight it's difficult to see exactly what market this was aimed at. George bemoaned the lack of success for Sweet Music, a beautiful All Things Must Pass type confection. But even George must have noticed that the world of 1972 was no longer the world of the Beatles, that ground had been surrendered to T Rex and Led Zeppelin. And Brother was simply out of step with the times.
I'd guess that 90%+ of people who buy this CD do so because of the Apple/ Beatle collection. From that angle, this is a must buy and the bonus tracks make this essential. For anyone else, though, it'll have limited appeal.
Next stop Elephants Memory then?
on 29 June 2012
I was so excited to hear that this long lost Apple album was coming out on CD, having been overlooked in the label reissue series a couple of years ago, and during the first such campaign in the 90's.
Anyone who's familiar with the Van Eaton song "Sweet Music" which was on the Apple Records "Best Of" compilation knows how good these NJ brothers sound. Very Beatle-esque (kind of hard not to be when you're working with George Harrison and Ringo Starr c.1971-72), but the other material on the album is equally impressive. Small wonder that George, Ringo and John Lennon all loved their demo tape, a testament unto itself in that they were signed via the "traditional" submission of a demo route, given Apple's culture of getting signed to the label based on "who you knew".
This was one of those "critics darlings" albums (both Billboard and Rolling Stone simply RAVED about it) which was crimnally overlooked, largely due to the label falling apart in the wake of the Beatles break-up.
Having the generous dose of bonus tracks allows us to hear what the original album would have played like, before decisions were made to rework some of the tunes and swap out others.
It's a great slice of early 70's album rock, with some uncanny melodies. Listen closely to "Without The Lord". You'll never listen to George Harrison's "Miss O'Dell" the same way again.
We're blessed to have this delightful album available again.
on 14 July 2012
...this CD is lavished with. I'm a Beatles fan and lover of great music in general.I bought the Apple box set last year and I really can't understand why this album was missing out of that set, but I'm glad that we have the chance to own a copy and enjoy the music now. For me this, as with Doris Troy, ranks high on the 'great lost music to be rediscovered' scale. On 1st listen I thought it was quite 'run of the mill' but after owning the album for a few weeks and giving it many repeat listens "I love it" - the songs and music just wash over you and it's like basking in the sun on holiday. I don't believe that there is a bad track on here.
I think the music we like is very subjective but if your waving on a possible purchase and wanted to try something you're not familiar with, I say go for it, treat yourself. I hope you enjoy as much as me.