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Brian Auger - Streetnoise CD (album) cover


Brian Auger


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.18 | 45 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars With Jools Driscoll back with Trinity, Streetnoise became the definitive album sealing their musical partnership, and this double vinyl received major accolades from the press and sold very well on both sides of the Atlantic. Historically this double album is as important as Hendrix' Ladyland, The Who's Tommy and Beatles' White album, even if Streetnoise has too many covers to be a real all-time classic. But it doesn't stop this album from being a real stunner in its own right, with some of the most striking songs getting the Auger treatment, Jools' voice never being more impressive and beautifully seconded by Brian (his strongest performance in his career, IMHO) and Ambrose. Remarkably divided in four sides of four tracks, by making a bit of a selection and lengthening the side's length, they could've made a complete superstar single disc album.

Right from the first notes of the instrumental Tropic of Capricorn, where Brian's Aurgan rules, you know that Trinity is hitting their apex, taking risk: Brian sounds a bit like Emerson and Thacker offers us a tasty drum solo that for once is not overstaying its welcome. Jools is singing about the dramatic events of the previous year's crushing of Prague's revolt in Czechoslovakia. And the second part of the track, when Julie picks up her acoustic guitar is an astounding moment keep you on your toes with what you can imagine his tragic events supplied by background noises, enhanced by Jools' slow death-like vocals, and the track ending in total chaos, obviously Russian tanks coming in. Mind-boggling stuff!! After such a monster, the soul/Motown Take Me To The Water can only sound like crap, but even placed elsewhere, this cover would still be weak. Closing the side is the short solemn acoustic folk A Word About Colour (Jools is alone here, without Trinity), making you regret even further the previous stinker.

After an average cover of The Doors' Light My Fire, the group attacks a fantastic version of Ritchie Havens' classic track Indian Rope Man (now there is some real good Motown), where Brian saturates his organ and the group is in top form. The lengthy blues-derived When I Was Young provides plenty more thrill and shivers, Jools' voice chilling you spine, Brian's brooding underlying orgasn (couldn't help it, sorry ;o))) goose-bumping you all the way to your toes. And if that was not enough, they give you splendid version of the Har musical closer Flesh Failures (Let The Sunshine In) for more goose-bumps and near mental early ejaculation.

The second disc starts on a superb instrumental Ellis Island, with a recurring descending riff serving as chorus and plenty of inspired improvs serving as the verses. Wild stuff, but the rest of the side doesn't really follow suit. If Brian (or Dave) sings fairly well In Search For the Sun, the track is little more than average for them, sorely lacking Julie. Finally found you Out is a much interesting instrumental, where Brian jumps from the Aurgan to the piano with a disconcerting ease, but as entertaining as it is, there nothing really worth writing home about either. Eye Of The World is a slow blues-jazzy solo piano piece with Brian singing overstaying its welcome by a good two minutes.

Lambeth Bridge is probably the most surprising track, with Jools and her guitar being the star of this lengthy progressive folk song. The following jazzy-blues sung by Julie is yet another goodie but wouldn't make the cut for the afore-mentioned single disc affair. But comes another Rado/Ragni track from the Har musical (I just love that late 60's artefact), I Got Life. Unfortunately the album ends on the sub-par Save The Country.

Although Jools would only record three more "rock" albums (the great 1969, the fantastic 76's Sunset Glow and the deceiving revival of Encore in 78), her departure would whip our fave Ogre's troupes' pride, and enlisting future great JR/F guitarist Gary Boyle, they would go on to record their crowning achievement (with this one), Befour, calling it quits after the masterpiece. Streetnoise is a stunning album to which I wished there was one song added, their cover of Donovan's Season of The Witch, to make it almost a perfection in its proto-prog genre.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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