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MR. BROWN

Prog Folk • Sweden


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Mr. Brown biography
The origins and whereabouts of this six-member Swedish outfit from the mid-70's are a mystery, their sole legacy being a privately released and rather short album titled "Mellan Tre Ögon" that features five guest musicians. Their style is not easy to pin down, the overall feel being primarily that of PINK FLOYD circa "Wish You Were Here", with a few symphonic accents from CAMEL, KAIPA and CARAVAN for the keyboard work; the flute play, however, and the structure of the compositions more readily recall JETHRO TULL. The vocals are very sparse, the music is not overly progressive and the compositions aren't particularly original, but the 70's prog 'dressing' is all over the album: nice piano and organ work and long instrumental passages.

Not essential but could be of interest to some JETHRO TULL fans.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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3.01 | 10 ratings
Mellan Tre Ögon
1977

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MR. BROWN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mellan Tre Ögon by MR. BROWN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 10 ratings

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Mellan Tre Ögon
Mr. Brown Prog Folk

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 realy

Mr Brown is an obscure progressive rock band comeing from Sweden. They release a single album in 1977 named Mellan tr Ogon and re released at label Transubstans in 2006. I was pleasently surprised obout this album, nice compositions, even in places are a little forced, good musicianship and enjoyble overall album. Mr Brown plays a hibrid between symphonic prog like Atlas or Kaipa and folk a la Kaamos with a touch of Focus in places, with nice flute elements , great guitar interplayand some very good keyboards elements From time to time some space moments are interluded very smooth between symphonic arrangem,ents, that gives a special atmosphere and a typical swedish sound. The best pieces are the spacey Universe - excellent pieces, Tornet - a track who sounds like a church choir - impressive piece, under one min, but what a atmosphere gives this tune and last track I'll arise, a good piece with vocals in english, the album alternats between pieces with voice and a lot of instrumental passages. So, for this unknown band and album I will give 3 solid stars. One of the pleasently albums from Sweden from late'70's. Great cover art, and funy inside booklet drawings.

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 Mellan Tre Ögon by MR. BROWN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 10 ratings

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Mellan Tre Ögon
Mr. Brown Prog Folk

Review by sampo

4 stars

It wasn't until the early 90's before Sweden made an important step onto the progressive rock map. Bands such as Änglagård, Landberk, Anekdoten and later on The Flower Kings were largely responsible for what some people like to refer to as "The third wave of progressive rock".

In the 70's, when progressive rock had its peak, bands from Sweden weren't very representative. Aside of Kaipa and perhaps Trettioåriga Kriget, Kebnekajse and Made In Sweden, there was little or no recognition. At least not in the terms of the giants of the period. One of the many bands that did try was Mr Brown. During the 70's, Mallorca was a popular place for swedes to visit during holidays. Among the travellers were Håkan Andersson and Bo Carlberg. When in Mallorca, they enjoyed a local band playing covers. Inspired by this, they immediately started a band upon arriving back in Sweden. Soon, the remaining seats were filled and they slowly started to build up a catalogue of their own. Musically, the band members talent exceeded the traditional instruments and they handled mandolin, hammond B3, Logan stringmachine, synthesizer and flute (to name a few).

They gained quite a reputation thanks to their live gigs and were on their way of scoring a record contract. Unfortunately, things changed. Due to other duties the members parted ways in '75. A half year later they all met up again and agreed on get an album out, as they fell that the music had potential. They financed the whole process with their own pocket money and they even distributed the the record themselves (prog was out - punk was in and thus no companies were interested). 1000 vinyls were pressed. My review is based on the now re-issued CD on transubstans records (trans 015).

The music of Mr Brown is pure symphonic rock and is largely reminiscent of Camel, Barclay James Harvest and Sebastian Hardie. The first track, "Suicide", starts off in a slow, spacey mode which draws the listener to Pink Floyd. This is one of the four tracks that contain lyrics. The vocals are sung in a soft way and fits the atmosphere of the song real good. The second track, "Recall", is surely one of the highlights of the album. A great intro that demonstrates the tight rhythm section kicks off before a grand piano follows and these are executed in a way that leaves the listener, or me at least, with a sense of hope. There are parts here reminding of BJH and, just like Holroyd and c/o, the strength of the song lies in the overall arrangement. The song continues with a mellow flute on a layer of mellotron, drums and piano before a guitar solo bursts in to the melody. Much of the music on Mellan Tre Ögon ("Between Three Eyes") is build up on the grand piano ("Resan till Ixtlan" - "Journey to Ixtlan") and with mellotron and synthesizer ("Universe"). The last track mentioned has an exceptionally soft and atmospheric feel about it. "Karma 74" provides some interplay between the flute and the piano before the rhythm section comes in. This one sounds quite folky at times and speeds up towards the end. "Liv i stad utan liv" ("Life in the City without Life") is the other highlight in my opinion. The verses are spoked whereas the choruses are being sung, all the lyrics are swedish. This song is basically what Mr Brown is all about: the arrangements. Exemplified by the fact that the song changes tempo and speeds up without losing control of the soft, symphonic atmosphere. The album finishes with an acoustically driven song, "I'll Arise" which isn't as good as the other tracks on the album (I don't count "Tornet" - "The Tower" as a real song given its length of 50 seconds) much due to the vocals that aren't that convincing. However, that's just a minor complaint.

This is what I like to call one of the best and most accomplished records from a swedish 70's band. I mentioned Kaipa earlier and I'd say, without sounding too over-excited over this piece, that this is better than anything Kaipa ever did. Given the time of its release, I'm sure Mr Brown would've gained more recognition if it had been released prior to the punk wave. Most of the songs, or at least parts of the songs, were already made in '73, '74. These guys had potential, too bad they left us with this single legacy.

This is highly recommended to 70's symphonic lovers.

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 Mellan Tre Ögon by MR. BROWN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 10 ratings

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Mellan Tre Ögon
Mr. Brown Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars It still amazes me that bands like this managed to form, record, release records and disappear with so little left behind besides the music. I’ve checked for biographies or other projects from everyone in this band to no avail. I can tell you that Håkan Andersson went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League; Bo Carlberg is a cardiologist at Umea University Hospital in Sweden; Kjell Johnsson is head of Denel Saab Aerostructures in South Africa; Lars Meding writes jingles for companies who publish language-learning materials; Anders Nilsson is a professional drag-car racer; Jan Peter Stråhle is a mechanical engineer in Germany; and Rovert Svensson is a professional golfer.

Okay, you have me - none of them do those things. And no – those people aren’t the same guys as the ones who were in this band. That was the best I could do surfing the web to find information about this album though. Really odd. Usually at least one or two members of even obscure seventies progressive bands end up in some other band of note at some point. But not these guys, or if any of them did they must have changed their names.

But on the other hand this isn’t a pivotal paragon of progressive purity either, so maybe that played into the equation a bit. The trappings of seventies music are here, it’s just that none of it is new, a lot of it isn’t progressive, and most has obvious roots in the band’s various influences (Pink Floyd, Ambrosia, even Tom Petty). Props for the album cover though – is that guy’s head what I think it is?

This album apparently was originally released in 1977, just on the outer edge of the decade in which new progressive music could still get published and supported. These guys just missed that boat. There are several CD versions available today, but I believe the 2006 Transubstans disc is the only ‘legitimate’ one. Transubstans describes the music as “symphonic prog in the same school as Focus and Swedish legends Kaipa and with a singer that's been compared with bigshots like Justin Hayward, Roger Waters and Bob Dylan”. Don’t be fooled. There are snippets of Pink Floyd, particularly in the keyboards on “Universe”, but I don’t think that qualifies as a valid Roger Waters comparison. Not sure where the Justin Hayward reference came from unless it is for the brief piano snippet “Tornet” that might be construed as sounding just a little bit Moody Blues-like in the same way that any female folk singer sounds just a little bit Sandy Denny-like, but nothing more. Kaipa was a similar type of band that made accessible music with symphonic rock leanings but an overall mainstream feel, so that is not an untrue claim by the label. And I guess Focus refers to “Kharma 74” which I could see being considered Focus-like, but just barely.

Actually if I had to point to another band to describe this one I think I would choose the Flower Kings. Not that Mr. Brown sounds a whole lot like them, but there seems to be the same spirit of acknowledging seventies prog dinosaurs by emulating their sounds in an easily digestible, almost AOR format. These guys just did it while the real progressive bands were still in existence as opposed to fifteen years later.

There are some vocals but not a lot, and those are a mix of Swedish ones I can’t understand and English ones that aren’t too clever or meaningful. On “Liv I Stad Utan Liv” there’s even some soundboard-manipulated harmonizing that sounds a bit like a horror movie soundtrack, but one of those satire horror films like ‘Another Teen Movie’. There is some decent guitar on that track though.

In all this is an average offering from a forgotten band who’s reissued CD is overpriced in my opinion. Unless you really have a hankering for discovering unheard of seventies bands, I’d recommend skipping on this one. Two stars and tepidly recommended to really serious collectors.

peace

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 Mellan Tre Ögon by MR. BROWN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 10 ratings

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Mellan Tre Ögon
Mr. Brown Prog Folk

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Mr. Brown comes from Sweden ...

What I know there is existing only one album from this band. Hard to believe and it would be very interesting to be informed about what the band members did afterwards. MR. BROWN combines several styles like folk, psych and symphonic and therefore is hard to categorize. The music is creative, composed and played very professional right down to the last detail but could be a little more edgy IMO. Undeniable, they are Influenced by other bands of this period. Guitars are acoustic in the majority but also dreamy electric, we have very symphonic keys around and the vocals are in english and native swedish.

Suicide has a nice melody and some similarities to PINK FLOYD, very relaxed with saxophon and acoustic/electric guitar. Recall The Future is a highlight of the eight songs. Typical for this album with permanent changes between rocking and mellow parts. This song remembers much at BO HANSSON. Universe is also to point out, a short and very nice song with wonderful vocals. SUPERTRAMP couldn't make it better. With the semi-acoustic I'll arise the album closes and MR. BROWN shows his singer/songwriter qualities. One of those songs which are not really spectacular to me.

As for a summary this album is consisting of very nice Prog (light) songs - 3.5 stars are well deserved.

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 Mellan Tre Ögon by MR. BROWN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 10 ratings

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Mellan Tre Ögon
Mr. Brown Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album is good news for the fans of melodic symphonic rock with tasteful keyboards and flowing electric guitar. The first two songs remind me of German band Eloy: a slow rhythm with flowing Floydian electric guitar, wonderful mellow keyboards (piano, string- machine) and a blend of acoustic rhytm guitar and senstitive electric guitar in "Suicide" and many shifting moods with great Grand piano play (evoking the good days of Procol Harum), tender flute and powerful electric guitar, halfway an accellaration with fiery electric guitar runs in "Recall The Future". The third song "Resan Till Ixtlan" is a solo piece on the Grand piano, very beautiful. Other highlights on this very melodic and warm album are "Liv I Stad Utan Liv" (Banks-like organ, Swedish vocals and a compelling end with howling eelctric guitar and beautiful strings) and Kharma 74 (an elaborate and varied song with majectic piano work and fiery saxophone and electric guitar). This CD is a wonderful discovery from Sweden!


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 Mellan Tre Ögon by MR. BROWN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.01 | 10 ratings

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Mellan Tre Ögon
Mr. Brown Prog Folk

Review by progprinter2

4 stars Although the genre was winding down by this time, 1977 was still a great year for Progressive Rock. Unfortunately, we are discovering most of it almost 30+ years later. With the advent of the internet, many of these long lost gems of 70's Progressive Rock are resurfacing and although some would have been better served to remain undiscovered, this is not the case with Mr Brown's Mellan tre ögon album. Formed in Sweden in 1977, Mr Brown probably released this album as a local release and it quietly slipped through the cracks soon after. This album is definitely rooted in the 70's, with influences from It's A Beautiful Day, Eloy, Pink Floyd, Caress of Steel era Rush, Greenslade and to a point, even a dash of Bob Dylan can be found lurking in this album.

The album starts off with a nice spacey groove reminiscent to Floyd's "Any Colour You Like," or even an earlier influence, "Cymballine." The vocals are a very intriguing cross section of Justin Hayward, Roger Waters and Bob Dylan ( a certain nasal quality) and are sung in both Swedish and English. As the album progresses with beautifully floating melody lines and mellotrons, one has to wonder why, of all the albums of lesser quality that were available worldwide in 1977, why this one never got noticed. If one had to place the album into today's internet prog category, it would be best suited in the Symphonic bin. Having said that, there is nothing so limiting about the album or band to pigeon-hole this music. They have their influences, and yes, they wear them on their sleeves. But there is an originality found on this album that begs to be heard. The album ranges from subtle mellotron drenched melodies to an almost folk styling, to Santana packed jam sessions. If I had owned this album in 1977, it would have been played to all of my friends and they would have gone out and bought it as well. It is such a tragedy this album, and many albums like it didn't make it out of the starting gate upon it's original release. Hopefully, Mr Brown will come calling on our door again, and we will listen this time.

Summary: Mellan tre ögon is a fine album and is a pleasure to listen to. There is nothing groundbreaking or particularly complex about this album, even for 1977. This is pretty much a typical affair of 70's Progressive Rock that features great musicianship, excellent execution and a very satisfying listen. Highly recommended.

For the Progressive Music Society,

Lew Fisher http://groups.yahoo.com/group/progressivemusicsociety/

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