Friday, March 14, 2014

Brinsley Schwarz - Unknown Numbers (BBC Session Recordings) 1971-1973

Brinsley Schwarz 
1971-1973, 'Unknown Numbers' (Miscellaneous BBC Session Recordings)

FM Broadcast recordings, very good quality
Mp3 @ 320 kbps

It's certainly about time I feature something from the legendary British 'pub rock' band Brinsley Schwarz (1969-1975), who despite being a great band on their own, became known primarily for what its members went on to do afterwards. Brinsley Schwarz the band consisted of guitarist Brinsley Schwarz, Nick Lowe, keyboardist Bob Andrews, and drummer Billy Rankin, initially, and grew out of an earlier incarnation called Kippington Lodge. In 1971 (after their 2nd album), singer-songwriter Ian Gomm was added, and the roster was complete. Brinsley Schwarz released 6 fine albums between 1970 and 1974, and established a reputation as a great live band before splitting to go their separate ways in 1975. Their last album (New Favorites of...) was produced by Dave Edmunds, and they played as Edmunds back-up band on tour at that time and were featured on the live tracks from Dave's solo album, Subtle as a Flying Mallet. Of course, Nick Lowe then went on to team up with Edmunds in the great band Rockpile, as well as establish, record and produce for Stiff records (and many others, producing artists such as The Damned, Elvis Costello, Wreckless Eric, Graham Parker, and The Pretenders), as well as a full solo career of his own, on his way to becoming an icon of britiish pub rock, power pop, punk rock, and new wave, and in recent years, even gentleman crooner. Drummer Billy Rankin and guitarist Brinsley Schwarz joined up with guitarist Martin Belmont briefly in Ducks Deluxe before Schwarz and Belmont, along with keyboardist Bob Andrews then teamed up with Graham Parker to become The Rumour, and one of the best back-up bands in rock history (both with and without Graham). Ian Gomm also went on to a successful solo career. All these artists achieved some great things, but Brinsley Schwarz the band is generally only thought about as being a stepping stone to those other things. Yet, they were a great band, and their music deserves to be heard. In some ways, they are kind of the british equivalent to Buffalo Springfield, not so much in their musical style, but in the fact that although they were a great band, they are seen primarily as a pre-cursor to so much other great music (Buffalo Springfield, and members Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, and Jim Messina, of course, lead to CSN&Y, Poco, Loggins& Messina, Manassas, SHF Band, etc. as well as all their stellar solo work). But anyway, Brinsley Schwarz was pretty great, too, and their excellent musical chops, precision playing and singing, and brilliant songwriting, all stand out on these selections of tracks from various BBC live sessions. Knowing their subsequent musical directions, we expect the tight rock 'n roll sound and the soul influences they show, but what you may not expect, is the strong American country-rock influence shown here. In fact, their overall sound is more strongly influenced by The Byrds, Gram Parsons, and particularly The Band, than just about anyone else (especially in their early years). Great stuff here, yet most of it not known at all in the US. By the way, the performances/recordings included here are supposed to be different from any of the officially released BBC material (on 2 LPs, including Cruel To be Kind-2004, which is excellent), but I have not specifically verified this. So, check out Brinsley Schwarz, not for what its members did later, but for the great music they made that was all their own. 

1. Country Girl (Lowe)
2. Dry Land/Unknown Number (Gomm)
3. Silver Pistol (Lowe)
4. Range War (Gomm)
5. Egypt (Lowe)
6. Nervous on the Road (But Can't Stay at Home) (Lowe)
7. Rockin' Chair (Gomm)
8. Unknown Number (Lowe)
9. It's Been So Long (Gomm)
10. Don't Lose Your Grip on Love (Lowe)
11. Surrender to the Rhythm (Lowe)
12. Home in My Hand (R.Self)
13. Ju Ju Man (Jim Ford/Lolly Vegas)
14. 30 Pounder (Instr.) (Lowe/Gomm/Andrews/Rankin/Schwarz)
15. Hooked on Love (Gomm)
16. It's Been So Long (Gomm)
17. Why Do We Hurt the One We Love? (Lowe)
18. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Lowe)

Tracks 1-7, BBC In Concert, June 18, 1971
Tracks 8-13 BBC In Concert, May 4, 1972
Tracks 14-18, BBC In Concert, Apil 14, 1973

These are different performances/recordings from those on the officially released BBC recordings albums

Brinsley Schwarz_Unknown Numbers-BBC_71-73.rar


edison61 said...

Thanks very much!

Bruce K. said...

Love this band. I was stunned when after Nick Lowe hit in the "new wave" era, these Brinsley Schwarz LPs started showing up in the record racks in the U.S. What the heck was this?! Nick Lowe did something before Pure Pop For Now People and producing Elvis?!

Thanks. And more rare Brinsleys would always be appreciated.

(I know I still owe this site a recording I was going to try to upload. It's been a challenging time for me, but I hope to finally do it.)

RonNasty said...

This is terrific. I've enjoyed listening to Nick Lowe since the first time I heard him, which for me was "Without Love" from the Americathon soundtrack. Thanks for all your efforts on this blog.