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Brian Auger - Streetnoise CD (album) cover

STREETNOISE

Brian Auger

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.10 | 39 ratings

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Progfan97402
5 stars This is clearly the most ambitious album Brian Auger had ever done in his career. This is also the most progressive album in his career. It's a really eclectic collection of songs, with a few surprises. Although this is the third album with The Trinity, it's the second with Julie Driscoll. As with Open (the debut with Jools), she doesn't sing on every song either, here Brian Auger or Dave Ambrose also sing on some of the songs. There are times that Auger almost goes into ELP territory in his organ playing, mind you this is before ELP, and when Emerson was in The Nice. Auger's style, unlike Emerson, always remained rooted in jazz. "Tropic of Capricorn" is pretty typical Auger & The Trinity, with his trademark organ playing, plus it's him that provides the vocals. Jools' "Czechoslovakia" is, naturally, about the Soviet invasion of said country in 1968, not too many songs at that time addressing that! The song starts off pretty typical Auger fashion, but then it goes acoustic, and calm, with a rather disturbing undercurrent, when then ends with the simulated sounds of army tanks. A cover of Nina Simone's "Take Me to the Water" is next. Well, this may not be to everyone's liking, this is very much southern gospel, and pretty straight-ahead gospel, even Brian Auger keeps his organ playing more in the church style here. While gospel has never been my music of choice, I can help but be blown away by Jools' vocals and the overall performance. Progheads won't get much out of the song, though. As much as Jools strikes me as a white soul singer, no doubt a big inspiration for Linda Hoyle of Affinity or Inga Rumpf of Frumpy and Atlantis, she seems just at home with folk music as well, her own "Word About Colour" could almost pass for Fairport Convention with those Sandy Denny-like vocals. I was also surprised she was fully capable of playing the acoustic guitar. She also takes on traditional song, "When I Was Young", which is more of a dirge, with Auger playing organ, done in a way you couldn't mistake for Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span. Two songs from Hair are also included, "Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)" and "I've Got Life", as much as I usually shy away from the music from Hair, they did a great job at it. "Ellis Island" is an instrumental song, with more of a '70s feel, thanks to the clavinet, which Brian Auger puts to great use. Dave Ambrose's "In Search of the Sun" is a rather psychedelic number, but I like that proggy organ break Auger gives here. Ambrose proves he's better on the bass than singing, but doesn't bother me, despite his shortcomings. I do like that psychedelic vibe, though. "Looking in the Eye of the World" is a rather calm, piano-dominated jazz piece with Auger on vocals. Some may not take too well to the slow pace, but I like the mood, and I actually enjoy it. "Vauxhall to Lambeth Hall" is another one of those folk numbers by Jools, once again how she can make as great a folk singer as a white soul singer (or vocal jazz singer). There's also a take on Miles Davis' "All Blues" (originally from 1959's Kind of Blue), this version includes vocals from Jools herself. This version is dominated by piano, rather than wind instruments, with the addition of vocals from Jools. There's also a cover of Ritchie Havens' "Indian Rope Man", which so many other bands have covered: Frumpy (who does it similar to this version), Tomorrow's Gift, Warm Dust, and probably otheres too. There's also a wonderful take on Laura Nyro's "Save the Country". It's rather soul influenced, so it may not appeal to everyone, but then, like the gospel of "Take Me to the River", regardless if these songs are to your personal liking, make no doubt about the amazing performances. Personally, I do enjoy this take on "Save the Country" (and while I'm not a fan of Laura Nyro, I do like her original version as well). While this album is literally all over the place, there are some great proggy moments that progheads would need to take notice. Mind you, this was out before In the Court of the Crimson King, so I have to say this is a very accomplished album, combining jazz, folk, blues, soul, gospel, and prog, and all done so well I don't even have problems with the non-prog stuff (like the gospel of "Take Me to the Water"). Wonder how these bluesy/jazzy prog bands fronted by female vocalists, like Frumpy (who also did a version of "Indian Rope Man", as mentioned earlier) or Affinity got a lot of their inspiration? Look no further! I wouldn't be surprised if Jools was a main influence for Linda Hoyle or Inga Rumpf. I can't believe how much futher Auger & Co. went that extra mile to create a truly diverse album stacked with simply amazing stuff. I have a bunch of other stuff he did, with the Trinity, and with the Oblivion Express, and make no doubt about it, Streetnoise tops them all. Regardless how you may feel about the whole album, because some songs will not appeal to everyone, to me, this album simply blew me away. Really worth your time.
Progfan97402 | 5/5 |

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