This is a truly special album from a very talented artist. I discovered this album after seeking out some of the songs Sam sung at a gig at Londons Jazz Cafe in Sep 2004. As mentioned by another reviewer, this album is best listened to in one go as it creates an immersive experience. If you appreciate good song writing, stunning vocals and want your emotions stirred, then you have to have this album.
This is a terrific album, but don't expect it to sound like 'Stop' or 'Box'. 43 Minutes is an angry, passionate record which is basically about the loss of Sam's mother. However, the songs are uplifting, if not upbeat, and there are some strong arrangements. The album really grows on you and the musicianship is excellent; as usual, Sam's in fine voice. Letting Go, One Candle, In the Rain and Fear of Life are highlights, but the record makes more sense if you listen to it all the way through rather than just lift one or two songs out of context. It reminds me a bit of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, in that the artist basically says 'I'm going to say what I really feel and damn the sales'. Long unavailable except through the fan club web site, the album will be re-released soon and is well worth picking up.
I played this album for the first time in a couple of years last night and, although i always loved it I was completely blown away by just how good it still sounds. And by good I mean unique and quirky and totally uncommercial yet utterly honest and chock full of beautiful melodies and raw emotion. I suspect it's the kind of thing you either love or hate - me, I love it with a passion.
To some Sam Brown was just a one-hit-wonder. But not giving in to company pressures, she has been able to make quality music during the last decade and more. "43 minutes" may have been formed through a personal loss. But Sam is and was such a determined singer-songwriter, she made a fruitful thing out of it. This is a succession of mostly very strong compositions, enhanced by Sam's powerful voice. Despite good backup musicians (including her own brother Pete), the music shines the most where her voice and piano carry it on their own. One word for it: "beautiful". From the opener to the last notes of her "When You Wish upon a Star" rendition, the CD shows us a musician shaken but still standing. Sam Brown says: "It's not directly about my mother's death, but it is a whole piece and very fierce." This may not be music for everyone. Yet for those willing to take the plunge into pure musical emotion, featuring one of Britain's best voices, this record will bring its rewards.
Sam Brown should be a benchmark; compulsory listening to any wannabe singer contemplating releasing a record who happens to thinks that warbling falsetto-like is singing. Maybe only then would the airwaves be free of the proliferation of noise pollution that assaults the senses. This girl has a voice that's a mix of the finest Belgium chocolate, rich dark molasses, and a 30 year old malt whisky all mixed together and served in a tumbler made of molten girders. And this album is as good as life gets. Buy it, make your ears your friends for life.