Sunday, 28 February 2010

Brainbox: Brainbox (1969)

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i have announced this quite a few times, but finally here it is – and certainly one of my personal favourite albums, so i hope you will appreciate it as much as i do. i may proudly present you one of the finest pieces of vintage dutch psych, the lone and selftitled album by brainbox, the group that made jan akkerman famous. as i already said this is a hell of an album and this rip is especially gorgeous as the vinyl has virtually no scratches at all and you can enjoy a very clean and fantastic sound.
brainbox are mainly remembered for their cover of george gershwins summertime, included on this lp as ‘summertime (from “porgy and bess”)’, that appears on many psych compilations nowadays. there are countless cover versions of that song, almost every band has played it and mostly also recorded it. brainbox version (which you can also find on the TFR jukebox) is slow, organ driven and has a deep and capturing atmosphere – a real masterpiece that you should not miss! another really fantastic track on this album is the opening number, dark rose. more vivid than summertime and almost ferocious it runs for more than five minutes and is a treat for every lover of psychedelic rock or late 60s rock in general, featuring some really good solos and instrumental parts, not to forget about the haunting flute playing. definitely also a must-hear.
the next track, reason to believe, is the weakest track of the album as it sounds like a half-hearted imitation of eric andersen or folk bards of that time (though it is not even a song written by him, but it just sounds like that). following is much harder and more soulful bluesrock number, baby what you want me to do. the vocals are rougher here and you can enjoy some fine guitar solos, really worth listening! after this rocker, brainbox are changing their style completely again and go for a beautiful six minute cover of simon and garfunkels scarborough fair. this song is slow and delicate, it really gives you shivers down your back, especially the beautiful acoustic guitar accompanying the singer and the just as beautiful flute solo. the a-side is closed by the aforementioned summertime, a groovy ending of the more differentiated and perhaps better side (depends on your taste maybe) side of this lp.
the b-side opens with a slow-blues number, showing the groups rougher side again. sinners prayer sounds like standard blues and the singers voice is far not gruff and deep enough to get you the real blues feel (he seems to be better at the non-blues numbers), but its not bad at all, four our of five stars id say. the last number runs for epic 17 minutes, but dont be fooled by the calm and rather boring opening. at about 2:08 the song explodes into an instrumental orgy that remains matchless. heavy guitar and drum attacks demonstrate the groups progessive side, and it definitely is a side they do not have to hide, except for the guitar solos sounding slightly “funky” from time to time, but that doesnt molest on a lot as this song is an enormous masterpiece. the track is titled sea of delight and i can tell you, listening to it at full length perfectly IS bathing your ears in a sea of delight!
i could go on praising this fantastic lp forever, but i guess ill cut short now and let this opus speak for itself. just a quick note about the cover art: the original cover scan basically looks like the real cover, the improved cover version is a little enhanced because that is how i think the designers intended it to look like originally. the new cover (which is also the one you see above here in this post) is richer in colour and has some more depth and i think it looks pretty cool – after spending four hours working on it! anyhow, please enjoy both sound and scans, feedback appreciated.

 
interesting links:
official website of brainbox guitarist jan akkerman
brainbox on rateyourmusic
brainbox on last.fm
 
 

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4 Comments

  1. avatar Anonymous said:

    After that description, how could I not check it out?!?!!! This is good stuff; very energetic! I dig the flute too.

    I think you nailed the cover restoration. It appears that all the shadowing had faded over time (on the original), so it takes some imagination to see what it was supposed to look like. It looks correct in your restored version.

    I hadn't heard this one before. Thanks for another eye-opener!

  2. wow, you were so fast commenting to this one… im glad you like it!
    actually im at the very moment still writing on a follow up post, so stay tuned to check it out aswell!

    have a nice day,
    sarah

  3. avatar Anonymous said:

    I first do a quick scan of the album. I listen to each song for a few seconds, at points 0%, 25%, 50%, and 75% through the song. Sometimes I'll listen for a bit longer (especially if I think it's bad music), and sometimes I'll listen at different points in the song's sequence.

    This allows me to comment right away. I screen 10-20 albums a day so if I don't comment right away, I'll probably forget.

    I know that my impression of an album or artist will change over time. But after doing this for 23 years, I've learned some tricks that help me make a quick and reliable fist assessment.

    And my assessment of Brain Box has not changed, so I'm glad to see that you posted another one!

  4. your welcome… i do listen to new albums at full length usually, i only jump to the next track when the actual one is pretty unbearable. so its just the opposite of what you do, but everyone has his preferences, but the only thing that matters is that we both love this album, isnt it?
    you may have a look at the new after tea single, too because im sure you might like it.

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