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Brian Auger

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Brian Auger Streetnoise album cover
4.01 | 58 ratings | 6 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

LP Side One:
1. Tropic of Capricorn (5:32)
2. Czechoslovakia (6:21)
3. Take Me to the Water (4:17)
4. Word About Colour (1:38)

LP Side Two:
5. Light My Fire (4:21)
6. Indian Rope Man (3:22)
7. When I Was a Young Girl (7:03)
8. Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In) (3:04)

LP Side Three:
9. Ellis Island (4:10)
10. In Search of the Sun (4:22)
11. Finally Found You Out (4:12)
12. Looking in the Eye of the World (5:02)

LP Side Four:
13. Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge (6:31)
14. All Blues Davis (5:41)
15. I've Got Life (4:28)
16. Save the Country (3:58)

Total Time 74:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Brian "Auge" Auger / organ, piano, electric piano, vocals
- Julie "Jools" Driscoll / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Clive "Toli" Thacker / drums & percussion
- David "Lobs" Ambrose / 4- & 6-string electric bass, acoustic guitar, vocals

Releases information

LP Marmalade 608005/6[UK] (1969)
CD (2001)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BRIAN AUGER Streetnoise ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BRIAN AUGER Streetnoise reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chicapah
4 stars As a young man finally breaking free from the cozy but stifling nest of mom and dad's house, striking out on my own in the bohemian college town of Denton, Texas in 1970, I was ever open and eager to experience music that would expand my safe horizons and dismantle my preconceptions. Having been intrigued upon hearing their head-turning version of "Light My Fire" on FM radio, I came across this double LP in the cutout bin in the NTSU student union building's campus store and grabbed it up (the stunning Ralph Steadman cover art was worth the price alone) without hesitation. It turned out to be the perfect soundtrack for that phase of my life and I nearly wore the grooves down through the vinyl. Almost four decades later the incredible performances captured on this album still have the power to shock and awe the progressive listener. What keeps this recording from being a bonafide "masterpiece" is the fact that it would have benefited greatly from some discreet editing and been pared down to a single disc. But this was released at the end of the "anything goes" sixties and restraint was not necessarily a virtue in those heady times.

"Tropic of Capricorn" is a very jazzy tune written by Brian "Auge" Auger that demonstrates right off the bat one of the main reasons to love this band. The Hammond organ. Brian is a monster and the fire he ignites every time he takes a ride is quite evident on this number. Clive "Toli" Thacker throws in a subtle but effective drum solo, as well. Yet nothing can prepare you for the dynamic entrance of vocalist Julie "Jools" Driscoll as her unique vocal stylizations rise impressively from her eclectic "Czechoslovakia," a strange mix of David "Lobs" Ambrose's acoustic guitar and Auger's organ that defines the term "eclectic." It's hard not to be affected by their creative and sometimes unnerving symbolic presentation of the strife and tragedies that country suffered in the summer of '68. Variety is the spice of life and their refreshing take on Nina Simone's "Take Me to the Water" appears like a spiritual oasis after the darkness of the previous cut. This gospel-tinged tune starts soulfully, then breaks into an all-out rave by the end with Jools raising the roof. Her brief "A Word About Color" is next and it's just her and an acoustic guitar but there's nothing laid-back or meek about her delivery. Ever.

As I mentioned earlier, their cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire" is what got me started on Auger's work and when you hear it you'll understand why. After hearing what Jose Feliciano had done to the song they decided to make it even jazzier and expressive and the result is nothing short of genius. Julie's erotic and near-orgasmic delivery takes your breath away as she makes the tune her own and Brian's sensuous organ lead is a treat, as well. This track is the highlight of the album and singularly worth the price of admission. Richie Havens' obscure "Indian Rope Man" is a hard-charging rocker that shows their more powerful side. Not only does Jools grab you by the collar with forceful words like "Indian rope man sees the times/splitting loose the edge of minds/catching losers in his line" but Auger's solo will tear your head off. If you haven't come to admire Driscoll's artistry by now, her stunning performance on "When I Was a Young Girl" has got to be the clincher. It's a haunting vocal and organ piece that slowly builds to an amazingly emotional crescendo and I guarantee you'll never forget Julie's gut-wrenching wails that take her voice flying into the highest registers imaginable. The more contemporary sound of "The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)" from the then-controversial musical "Hair" will make you forget The Fifth Dimension's sappy "Age of Aquarius" for all time to come.

Brian's "Ellis Island" (an instrumental inspired by Don Ellis) starts with a typical 60s-styled clavinet riff but then gets hotter than Hades as the tight rhythm section of Thacker and Ambrose glide underneath Auger's jet-fueled, screaming organ ride. If you are a fan of the Hammond sound then you can't afford to overlook this album. The low point arrives in the form of "In Search of the Sun," an amateurish ditty by Dave that only serves to retard the momentum. The liner notes inform us that it was his first attempt at songwriting and it sounds like it. Brian's funky "Finally Found You Out" is next and, while it was supposed to have vocals, time restrictions kept that from happening so they left it in as an instrumental. Good thing, too, because Auger's organ lead will curl your hair and, if you stand too close to the speakers, it might set your clothes ablaze. I'm not kidding. The following song, "Looking in the Eyes of the World" is another cut that should have been left in the can. Its timely anti-war message is admirable but the rambling meandering of Brian's toneless voice and somber piano musings turns this one into a tiresome dirge to be skipped.

The prog-folk leanings of Julie's "Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge" is an intriguing adventure into uncharted territory where she and Ambrose weave a courageous free-form pattern using just expressive vocals and beautiful acoustic guitar. The group's cover of Miles Davis' "All Blues" is one of my favorite versions of that classic. Driscoll hypnotizes with her expert phrasing and Brian shows off his jazz piano skills. It's too cool for words. "I Got Life" (another song from "Hair") follows and it's a fantastic showcase for Jools' versatility as she paints the intricate but expressive lyrics all over the aural spectrum. You just gotta hear this lady sing! And there's no better way to end an album than with a Laura Nyro composition like "Save the Country." This heartfelt plea for peace and harmony is perfect for Jools' emotional voice as she soars like an eagle over the band's energetic groove.

I think you have to have a hankering for the unexpected to truly absorb and appreciate this music. If you're looking for a mix of jazz, rock, blues and folk that doesn't sound like any other group before or since then I feel certain that "Streetnoise" will be something you will enjoy. Some might find Julie Driscoll's vocals too stark and/or naked but few sing from the soul the way she does. (I daresay that the likes of the great Annie Lennox were undoubtedly inspired by her.) And NOBODY, including Emerson, Wakeman and Lord, had the ability to attack the Hammond keyboard with more intensity and blazing passion than Brian Auger. He proves it beyond any shadow of a doubt here. 4.2 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Great ,great Auger album with fantastic singer Julie Driscoll! There are many albums in Brian Auger discography, but only few of them include Julie Driscoll voice.

Very innovative sound ( as for 1969) combines heavy Auger Hammond with some bluesy and jazzy drumming and great cold and strong "futuristic" Julie's voice. In fact, we have there one of the earliest jazz-fusion records ever, still with strong blues and r'n'b roots. But Julie's voice is very non-jazzy. In combinations with heavy organ solos it makes very unusual atmosphere.

Not all track contain vocal, only about half of them. And instrumentals are good enough, but songs with Julie all are gem! Some are usual r'n'b, some has bluesy feel, and other are very jazzy. But all make very strange and magic atmosphere, catching you for years to come.

I believe, that some could be unhappy with strong "hippie" feeling from all the music, with domination of "Doors" style music ( "Light My Fire"cover is presented with very unusual Julie's vocal and different rhythmics). But I believe, that that album is one of greatest early jazz-fusion albums of late sixties.

Review by 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.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Auger released this double album back in 1969 as a four piece. Julie sings and plays acoustic guitar while Auger is prominent with the piano and organ. Bass and drums round out the lineup although the bass player also adds acoustic guitar. There's a lot of variety on here which I don't like but that's just the start of the things that make this a 3 star record for me. I do like Brian Auger and am a big fan of his "Befour" album which at least has electric guitar on it and hey Gary Boyle is playing it, and also Brian is the singer which I prefer. A couple of covers on here which was par for the time period and the "Light My Fire" one was a disappointment but I really like the FIFTH DIMENSION cover "Let The Sunshine In". But yeah a ton of variety like Gospel, Blues, Jazz, Folk and on and on. There are so many songs that I just don't like on here but that's my tastes. Pare this down to a single record then I'm on board. Props to the first song on this recording "Tropic Of Capricorn" where Auger shows why he's one of the most talented keyboardists out there. I connect with the next one "Czechoslovakia" as well and it's the one vocal track with Julie singing that I really like. It gets a little crazy too. Very much a hit and miss affair for me over the 75 minutes or so making it a 3 star record.

Latest members reviews

5 stars From my first chidlhood glimpse of Steadman's groovily gruesome cover art I knew I was going to adore this album and nowhere did it disappoint. Here the ideals of the 60s were given a 240V jolt of the funk. This is no flower-waving bliss out - all the rage, fear, disappointment, paranoia and hope ... (read more)

Report this review (#438790) | Posted by kristo68 | Monday, April 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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