Thursday, 25 September 2014

"Hello" by MARC BRIERLEY - A Review Of His 2nd Album for CBS Records In 1969 - Now Reissued, Remastered & Expanded by CHERRY TREE of the UK On A 2014 CD...



“…The Presence I Am Seeking…”

UK folky MARC BRIERLEY and his rare debut album - 1968's "Welcome To The Citadel" on CBS Records - has been treated to a luxurious and expanded CD remaster by Cherry Tree in September 2014 (Cherry Tree is part of Cherry Red Records). "Hello" is his second album from the summer of 1969 and again it's received a genuinely great upgrade. Here are the dewdrops and dodgy beards...

UK released September 2014 - Cherry Tree CDTREE014 (Barcode 5013929691421) breaks down as follows (79:08 minutes):

1. Sunny Weather
2. Lady Of The Light
3. Today I Feel Like Leaving You
4. O Honey
5. A Presence (I Am Seeking)
6. The Room
7. Byrd Lives
8. Hello
9. Lookin' Around The Room
10. When Mother Comes
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Hello" - released August 1969 in the UK on CBS Records S 63835

11. Be My Brother
12. If You Took The Bandages Off Your Head (You Wouldn't Be So Blind)
Tracks 11 and 12 are A&B-sides of a November 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 5266

13. The Best Part Of The Night
14. In This Hour Of Love
15. One Fine Morning (You Will Wake Up)
16. Screaming Schizophrenia Blues
17. Abide With You
18. Brown Ships
19. For People Who Are Parted
20. Sweet Summer
Tracks 13 to 20 are 'Island Records Demos' recorded in 1973

21. Be My Brother
Track 21 is a 'Rehearsal Demo'; Tracks 13 to 21 are all Previously Unreleased

The 12-page booklet combines his own recollections on the recording of the album with cool photos of Demo CBS 7" singles, a trade advert, a facsimile CBS Press release, period photos, outtakes from the album shoot and a Discography at the rear. Simon Murphy's CD Remaster at Another Planet Music is superb - very clear and at times - breathtaking. Players included Graham Todd on Organ, Dudley Moore guesting on Piano, Harold McNair provided Flute while the rhythm section consisted of John Fiddle on Bass with Tony Carr and Dougie Wright on Percussion and Drums respectively.

Musically his debut "Welcome To The Citadel" was a Folk record with Nick Drake, Al Stewart and Mick Greenwood leanings (hence its £400 Price Guide cost) - "Hello" at a mere £100 is far more poppy (seeking hits) and the lesser for it in truth. It opens with the irrepressibly cheery "Sunny Weather" which is almost vaudeville and not great. "Lady Of The Night" was coupled with "Sunny Weather" in October 1969 as a Uk 7" single on CBS Records S 4632 bit it tanked. Far better is the gorgeous acoustic/strings of "Today I Feel Like Leaving You" where you feel he was finding his own sound. "O Honey" is more slapstick with lyrics like "it could be so groovy..." but Side 1 ends with the album's masterpiece - the near seven-minute "A Presence (I Am Seeking)". It's gorgeous with Nair's flute complimenting the acoustic strum and spiritual lyrics - it's surely ripe for a cover version by someone with taste...

Side 2 opens with "The Room" - another quietly lovely tune while "Lookin' Around The Room" gets all zippy for all the wrong reasons. But "When Martha Comes" rescues your faith. The single "Be My Brother" is excellent - very much in keeping with the love and peace of the time (should have been on the album).

But as with the "Welcome To The Citadel" CD - there comes a shocker - a flurry of Previously Unreleased Demos made for Island Records in 1973 that show amazing songwriting maturity. They're hissy for sure but shockingly good. Songs like the lovely "In This Hour of Love" and "Screaming Schizophrenia Blues" are brilliant - but it's "One Fine Morning (You Will Wake Up)" that impresses most. Someone needs to make this tune famous too...


Robin Lent (who was involved in the original recording) writes in the liner notes that Marc Brierley deserves to be held up like RODRIGUEZ as a lost artist worthy of major reassessment and rediscovery. Is it a Sixto Rodriguez type situation - not really - but at times I tell you he gets damn close...

No comments: