I hadn't heard of Marc Brierley until I read a feature on obscure, so-called 'singer-songwriters' in 'Record Collector' last year. Trusting what I read, I took a chance on this collection and was very impressed. Brierley accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, usually assisted by bass, drums, occasional keyboards and various combinations of brass and strings. His voice reminds me of the young Bert Jansch, though a little higher and less melancholy.
The first disc features two albums, the second, much shorter, an assortment of single and EP material. The first album featured, 'Welcome To The Citadel', has a live feel to it, exposing imperfections in the vocal delivery. That is part of its charm. The first two songs reveal his penchant for simple, catchy, insistent melodies that complement stripped-down lyrics, such as the repeated, 'The answer is to know all'. Some of the lyrics display a youthful naivete and, occasionally, sound as if they've been written to fit the music. Still, on the whole, it's an
The highlight of the CD is the second album featured, 'Hello', a more solid, confident and mature effort. Brierley stretches out beyond the folk/pop sound to tackle Latin rhythms, music hall and vaudeville influences. The track, 'The Room', a mesmerising seven-minute epic with an atmospheric organ backing is magnificent, my favourite on the album.
Disc two opens with 'Be My Brother', its tinkling piano betraying an influence from The Band. For the most part, however, Brierley is his own man and the sleevenotes for this compilation are his own reflections. There's a lot of great stuff from the 1960s and 1970s out there that most of us aren't aware of and this is a good example.