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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Peter Brown

Warm

Review by Bruce Stringer

A CD landed on my doorstep from Malaysia a short while ago which took my interest and inevitably ended up doing it's revolutions in my CD player on and off over a few weeks. The artist, Peter Brown, has written and played some beautiful, folk-orientated pieces embracing his new life in Malaysia away from his UK homeland. Warm is the title of the CD and describes well the sound of Peter's album.

Overall, the CD has a most listenable quality and is light and welcoming. After many other CDs had gathered dust I found that there were moments on Warm that compelled me to put it on again. It has a sincerity that many musician songwriters target but often fail to reach and does not attempt to overstate itself.

For ordering info, please check out www.lemang.com or www.mp3.com/peterbrown.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Supper With You
A reminder of a 70's Dylan - Cat Stevens mix with a nice ringing snare sitting aptly alongside the acoustic guitar playing. It's uplifting qualities are inherent throughout with a relaxed Waterboys approach. Earnest beginnings to a warm mixture of humour and the darker sides of human nature make up this cut.
The Secret
Moody and with its open heart lyrical surgery, The Secret has an American acoustic feel once again reminiscent of Dylan especially with the subtle organ/ keys playing. Although lasting just over 5:30 the piece could have gone on for an extended jam and is able to sustain interest and has some thought provoking lyrics - nice.
Hard to Dream
Blues-rock a la the Stones and the Faces with Peter's unique 'everyman' vocal style (that sounds along the lines of the Australian folk-rock mainstay Paul Kelly) sits nicely in his compositions and has versatility unlike many. Again, a 1970's feel with the production, but this is a great track to push the volume up on the stereo.
Move On Down The Line
My favourite track, a nice military snare rhythm works well with the Peter Green style tetra-chords (thanks to fellow Brit, Phil Davies), and there are even moments where the vocals come close to Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company fame. This even includes some well-suited back-ups from Peter's wife, Markiza.
Crazy Heart
The western folk influence in Crazy Heart makes for a light and very listenable piece. One of the qualities of Mr. Brown's work that really stands out is the very listenable, inoffensive quality. After a few listens certain aspects of the backing music come forward in the mix and blanket the song with that most likeable of musical traits.
Better World
Returning to the uptempo pace and the type of peace and love lyrics that would sit well in 1969 Hyde Park. The song is almost reggae-ish and has some nice tear-away harmonica soloing and like many songs from the free love period there is even a break to define political views - interesting mix of styles.
Wage Slave
We've all been there. Peter's lyrics spell out those feelings exactly over this fast and rocking number more suited to a Pixie's or early punk record. A great way to let down the hair with its raw energy that even cuts to what could only be described as a Sex Pistols resurrection. Not taking itself too seriously, this is fun for all.
Family Ties
A grand acoustic song in 6/8 and very short (at just under 2:30) Family Ties is a fine example of great song and is broad and gentle.
The Good Samaritan
Not my favourite track, but a nice backing for Peter to talk spiritual and wonder back over that day spent in Leicester Square. A tale of beggars and giving to the needy, this is a thought provoking and timely observation of how life has dealt some people a bad hand. Brown leaves the story unresolved, as all life's great enigmas are.
Night Time
Didn't I grow up with a Rod Stewart song just like this? Catchy and simplistic mix of a great vibe, this is a nice, folky view of things. One thing that Peter seems to have done well, besides create nicely textured yet organic mixes (along with Farouk Ahyar), is to place his pieces in a cohesive, fitting sequence. Night Time is a nice piece and keeps the pace moving along nicely.
A Friend Like You (song of Malaysia)
Mixing the acoustic folk sensibilities with what sounds like a more Malaysian approach to the rhythm section, this song is a solid closer to the CD and a gentle reminder of friendship. It's a well-crafted celebration of life.
 
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