Sunday, 29 August 2010

“Let The Days Go By/Sunny Side Of The Street” by BRYN HAWORTH (2004 Gott Discs CD Reissue - 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…And It Picks Me Up…Turns Me On…Puts Me On My Feet Again…"

Hailing from Blackburn in Lancashire, Bryn Haworth first came to notice on a series of amazing 7" singles by SHARON TANDY and beat darlings FLEUR-DE-LYS on Immediate, Polydor and Atlantic Records. These mid to late Sixties UK 45's now command huge money on the collector's market. Miscredited as ‘Bryn Hayward’, Haworth then played electric and acoustic guitars on “Get Yourself Together” on Andrew Leigh’s 1970 Polydor solo album “Magician” (ex Spooky Tooth, Matthews Southern Comfort). He also turned up on two Jackie Lomax albums - "Home Is Where My Head Is" from 1971 and "Three" from 1972 - both were on Warner Brothers and have been reissued by Rhino (with extra tracks) where he plays on almost every cut. He then took his songs to A&R man Richard Williams who signed him to Island Records in 1973. Which is where this CD comes in...

UK released June 2004 - "Let The Days Go By/Sunny Side Of The Street" by BRYN HAWORTH on Gott Discs GOTTCD003 (Barcode 881881000323) offers his first two albums on Island Records from 1974 and 1975 Remastered onto 1CD and breaks down as follows (78:46 minutes):

1. Grappenhall Rag
2. All I Want
3. I Won’t Lie (This Time)
4. Ee I Love You Lass
5. Miss Swiss
6. Let The Days Go By
7. Get Yourself A Man [Side 2]
8. Time Has Come
9. Whims And Ways
10. All I Need Is A Home
11. Anywhere You Want To Be
Tracks 1 to 11 are his debut album "Let The Days Go By" released October 1974 in the UK on Island ILPS 9287

12. Good Job
13. Pick Me Up
14. Darlin’ Cory
15. Dance
16. Peace Of Mind
17. Give All You Got To Give [Side 2]
18. Heaven Knows
19. Sunny Side Of The Street
20. Used
21. Thank The Lord
Tracks 12 to 21 are his 2nd and last album for the label released May 1975 on Island ILPS 9332. Both albums were first released on CD in Japan by Vivid Sound in 2003 in 5" card repro sleeves, but they're hard to find now and expensive. This 2004 issue is the first official UK CD release of these rare LPs. 

Both albums featured musicians from great British bands of the time - "Let The Days Go By" had Pete Wingfield (formerly of Jellybread) on Keyboards, Gordon Haskell (of Fleur-De-Lys and King Crimson) on Bass, John Porter (of Roxy Music) also on Bass, Terry Stannard, Alan Spanner and Mel Collins from Kokomo (ex Arrival and The Grease Band) on Drums, Bass and Saxophone - while John Rabbit Bundrick played Hammond Organ on "I Won't Lie (This Time)". The second album featured Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Dave Swarbrick from Fairport Convention and again members of Arrival. Haworth played the mandolin and all electric and acoustic Guitars in his unique melodic sliding style.

Packaging - each record initially came with inner sleeves, but neither is reproduced in the 16-page booklet - however, the booklet more than makes up for it. You get the lyrics and full musician credits for the two albums, a 4-page history by Mark Chatterton and even a picture of his band on tour in 1974. The colour photo on the back of the booklet is the rear sleeve of "Let The Days Go By" and beneath the see-through CD tray there's even a glowing NME review of his debut album.  It's very tastefully done. The outer card wrap tells us it's digitally remastered but doesn't advise by who or where (licensed from Universal music). The sound quality is excellent, certainly clearer than the vinyl counterparts I've worn out after years of use.

Musically - his debut is far removed from that Sixties psych and beat sound - it's more CSNY with religious lyrics. It's all plucked acoustic guitars, mandolins, a gorgeous instrument called a Harpoleck and superb slide electric guitar. Haworth made the Harpoleck something of a feature on his albums; it looked like a Harp in your lap - or the inside of a small piano - and when you drew the plectrum across its taught strings, it gave a sort of elevated 12-string guitar sound - beautiful. The second album rocked out a bit more with very catchy tunes like "Picks Me Up" (lyrics above) - even showing a bit of menace on "Used".

If you wanted a lay-of-the-land, "Darlin' Cory" appeared on 2009's "Meet On The Ledge" 3CD box set featuring Island's Folk and Folk/Rock acts - it's a Denis Blackham remaster and is available on iTunes as a purchase or a listen.

There's a certain peaceful and positive quality about these albums that I've always loved. "Heaven Knows" is as sweet as Seventies singer-songwriter gets. Great stuff. Recommended.

Further places to look for his work:
Haworth played guitar on Badger's "White Lady" (Epic EPC 80009) and John Cale's "Fear" (Island ILPS 9301) both from 1974. He put in lovely Mandolin work on "Somebody Who Loves You" and menacing slide guitar on "Like Fire" on "Joan Armatrading" - her extraordinary "Love & Affection" album from 1976. He plays guitar on Andy Fairweather-Lowe's 1976 album "Be Bop & Holla" (AMLH 64602). Haworth then signed to A&M Records and released probably his most accomplished album - the varied and beautiful "Grand Arrival" (1978 on AMLH 68462). Around this time, he even secured an end of program slot on Bob Harris's "Old Grey Whistle Test" in the UK where he and his band did a blistering version of "Beans On Toast" from "Grand Arrival". "Grand Arrival" was in turn followed by "Keep The Ball Rolling" (1979 on AMLH 68507) which featured Cliff Richard on 2 tracks and Pete Wingfield again on Keyboards. He later played on Ian Matthews "Stealin' Home" album and several of the Gerry Rafferty Eighties albums. He did work for Chris De Burgh, Cliff Richard, Amazing Blondel and even Dana Gillespie. There after it was full-on Christian Music LPs on the Chapel End and Word labels (UK only releases) and other CDs right up to the 2010 where he's released 2 new albums and still commands a dedicated and loyal audience.

PPS: Would someone please reissue “Smith Perkins Smith” – it was on Island Records in 1972 – they sounded like the UK’s answer to CSNY. Only made one album but it was a sweetie… 

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