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DUNCAN BROWNE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Duncan Browne biography
Duncan BROWNE (b. 1947-03-25 - d. 1993-05-28) was a UK composer and musician with a long and interesting career, who passed away at a much to young age in 1993. His initial forays into the world of music was as a part of the folk duo Lorel, but when that project fell apart he opted to release a solo album instead. And utilizing his impressive guitar skills, Give Me Take You from 1968 was his first low-key album. This piece of singer/songwriter material did help him to land a role in German movie Zeit Für Traume, but didn't make a major impact beyond that. When he returned with the single Journey towards the end of 1972 he did however, this single hovering at the outer edges of the top 20 singles charts at the time. The following self-titled full length production that was released in 1973 didn't make as much headway however. Soon after Browne hooked up with one Peter Godwin, and together they formed the band Metro, combining the aspects of art rock and glam rock in one go. Browne would depart that band following their initial self-titled album however, and following a brief stint with Godwin, Sean Lyons and Stewart Copeland in Public Zone, Browne opted to continue his solo career.

The Wild Places and Streets of Fire followed in 1978 and 1979 respectively, two albums by many described as akin to Roxy Music or Bryan Ferry. With a slight touch of King Crimson. Not too successful at the time however, and Browne would settle down to craft music for films, television and the theatre for the next decade or so. Curiously enough this lead to his second minor hit, as a song from the soundtrack made for BBCs Travelling Man became popular. It was while working on this series that Browne got to know director Sebastian Graham-Jones too, and they soon became close friends. Later on another addition to his circle of friends due to this line of work would be Nick Magnus.

In 1989 Browne got diagnosed with cancer, and while initial treatment appeared to be successful the disease returned a few years later, culminating in his death in 1993. At the time he was in the middle of making a new solo album, and after his death friends and colleagues he had got to know over the years decided that they should finish this production posthumously. Nick Magnus the principal caretaker of this project, but also with friends such as Sebastian Graham-Jones helping to finalize this album. The end result saw the light of day in 1995 as Songs of Love & War, described as a fine al...
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Give Me Take YouGive Me Take You
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2009
Audio CD$11.26
$11.11 (used)
Wild Places//Streets of FireWild Places//Streets of Fire
Import · Remastered
Castle/Essential 2004
Audio CD$44.95
$39.99 (used)
Duncan BrowneDuncan Browne
Import · Remastered
EMI Import 2002
Audio CD$18.29
$14.00 (used)
Songs of Love & WarSongs of Love & War
Import
Import [Generic] 2000
Audio CD$937.81
$100.00 (used)
Streets of FireStreets of Fire
Import
Import [Generic] 1998
Audio CD$37.99 (used)
the wild places / short 12the wild places / short 12
SIRE
Vinyl$8.00 (used)
journey / mono 45 rpm singlejourney / mono 45 rpm single
RAK
Vinyl$15.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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DUNCAN BROWNE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DUNCAN BROWNE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 4 ratings
Give Me Take You
1968
3.05 | 2 ratings
Duncan Browne
1973
3.95 | 2 ratings
The Wild Places
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Streets of Fire
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Travelling Man (with Sebastion Graham-Jones)
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Songs of Love & War
1995

DUNCAN BROWNE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DUNCAN BROWNE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DUNCAN BROWNE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DUNCAN BROWNE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 2 ratings
Wild Places
1978

DUNCAN BROWNE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Give Me Take You by BROWNE, DUNCAN album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.66 | 4 ratings

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Give Me Take You
Duncan Browne Crossover Prog

Review by JeffELOLynne

3 stars Review: Duncan Browne "Give me Take You" First of all I must say that Browne is my favorite artist. As a result, I know all of his music and I was the one who got him into progarchives. This album is the first of his two baroque folk albums. Those albums are NOT the reason for his inclusion on the site and are VERY different from his work with Metro and his two late 70's albums.. It is a very tender, pleasant, warm but also heavily dated piece of work. Musical influences are Donovan, Dylan and Nick Drake. It has the positive vibe and baroque-feel of Donovan(think "Atlantis"), the folk-inspired guitar playing by Dylan and the intimistic atmosphere of a Drake recording. However, a huge difference with the latter artist are the lyrics(which Browne didn't write himself). Those are very naïve and highly romantic(in a pastoral English kind of way). It are sweet poems about childhood adventure, nature and young man's love(Browne was only 21 himself when the album came out). British 17th and 18th century music must have also been a big part of young Duncan's input. Browne's classical trained acoustic guitar playing is obvious throughout the album, as it is places central in all compositions. The biggest role however, is played by the human voice. Vocal overdubs of Browne's voice and hired choirs of men, women and children(which Browne wrote the score for) give the album a heavenly atmosphere. Sometimes you can hear some drumming/handclaps, piano, strings and wind instruments, but this is definitely not a band effort. The compositions are mostly in the singer-songwriter vein: very repetitive verse-based songs that tell linear stories, very much akin to French chansonniers like George Brassens and Jacques Brel. Browne's voice is already in shape: his McCartney-like tenor is a gift from heaven. It's full of life(yes, you could call it a bit shaky) and warmth and it is always earnest. His guitar playing, though very charming, still needed a lot of improvement. Small mistakes can be heard throughout the record, which is not inexcusable, but it does reflect the state of affairs of the young Duncan. He was in many ways just a boy writing well-behaved, honest songs far removed from his strongly sexual-tinged, enigmatic later work. So if you want a dark, broody prog folk album get a Nick Drake record instead. The biggest problem with "Give me Take You", however, is that almost all of the songs sound the same: they use the same melodic motifs and twists and build up in exactly the same way. That wouldn't be so much of a problem if it were a concept album, but instead of unifying it makes it very hard listening to the album as a whole. If a song passes along on your Ipod, you probably won't hit the "next" button, but when you hear a couple of songs in a row your probably gonna accuse Browne of plagiating his own music! Let's discuss all of the songs apart.

"Give me Take You" *** kicks off with a choir and is very exemplary for the rest of the album, albeit a more orchestral arrangement with the use of strings and woodwinds. Its baroque feel will certainly be able to bring you in a good mood, like a Vivaldi record also can. Pleasant, but certainly not memorable(apart from the beautiful little instrumental ouverture). Extra credit goes to the scoring of the wind instruments, which is very tasteful.

"Ninepence Worth of Walking"***: here Browne's voice is very reminiscent of Paul McCartney. It uses the same kind of vocal overdubs as the first tune. This song will gets your fingers tapping but also has a strange major/minor musical twist with shows Browne's willingness to add unexpected dissonants to his music . Light-hearted song with a sad undertone, which gives it a melancholic quality.

"Dwarf in a Tree"*** is more blues-inspired. Drums and bass are used and in the chorus a harpsichord pops up. Completely Donovan-like and -if I may- also akin to Pink Floyd's earlier work with Syd Barrett at the helm or even David Bowie's debut album. Certainly a shift in style, but one that is rather dictated by the time it was created. At 3.15, however, from out of nowhere, the ouverture of the title-track looms up with treated spoken word on top. Browne's theatre education certainly had to do something with that. A very proggy twist for sure.

"The Ghost Walks" **sounds as if it was recorded in another century, which gives it a unique atmosphere. Such a shame the composition is overly soft(like something a musical student would make) and borrows to many ideas from his other songs. It leaves the listener rolling with the eyes, slightly annoyed... Anachronism in the modern world.

"Waking You" ***is a two-part miniature with Bach-like inventions and simple, yet very effective lyrics. "Waking you and not knowing quite why": say no more! Splitting this song in two is maybe a bit unnecessary(certainly because the second part is almost exactly the same as the first one), but it does show Browne's affinity with artier music.

"Chloe in the Garden"** starts with the sound of a cold breeze, directly summoning the right atmosphere. What follows is probably the saddest song of the album. Strings sound like the quartet used in the opening tune of "Fawlty Towers": This takes away the universalness of the song and makes it, again, very British. Nothing wrong with that ofcourse. Very passable song, only for if your in a sombre mood.

"On the Bombsite"** is a true baroque folkpop song with Byrds-like guitar strumming and full-in drums. Lyrics are pretty silly and childish but effective as written from a little boy's perspective. The vocal inventions are starting to wore out though.

7 very mediocre songs until now, that's not great is it? Strangely enough the true genius of Browne begins to shine on the second part of the LP.

"I was, You weren't" ***hit the right spot in my heart. It's the first song that really struck a tear for me, and it's a pity it didn't last longer. An church-like ouverture played by organ opens up for a simple but beautiful song. The psychedelic vocal overdubs on the end of the song are present again, as is the harpsichord. A timeless song in a dated coat.

"Gabilan"**** could have fit right onto Browne's self-titled second album. It is a fully realized effort: Browne sounds more mature, the vocalizing is very effective and sounds more like wailing ghosts then a church choir(like on the rest of the album). The raindrop like guitar playing accentuates the autumnish atmosphere. Ranks among his best work.

"Alfred Bell"**** starts off like a Beatles song. The more stripped-down sound is a relieve, as it doesn't sound dated at all. While not abandoning his classical/folk roots Browne turns in more of a pop song here, and does it with aplomb. Another highlight.

"The Death of Neil"***** is what I call the true uppercut of "Give me Taking You". What a greatly composed, arranged and performed song. It sounds bigger and more timeless then any other song on the record and would still be an inspiration for young singer- songwriters/chansonniers. It tells the story of an Icarus-like man whose only dream was "to fly on selfmade wings". Browne hands out a great, unexpected melodic twist again which always brings tears into my eyes. The reversed vocals at the end are also a great find. Hidden gem.

"Cherry blossom Fool"*****, the last official track of the album and arguably the most beautiful one. It displays the same melancholic feel as the previous songs and is a perfect closer. The lyrics sound almost Shakespeare-like. Credit goes to Browne's art school friend David Bretton, a gifted poet. Browne portrays himself as a modern day minstrel here, turning out the fifth heartbreaker in a row.

The difference in quality between the first and second side of the LP is remarkable and remains a mystery to me. Anyway, not a hardcore Browne fan? Just skip the dated first side, it's only "interesting" as a child of it's time. The second side is purer, more original and far more memorable.

Now, the bonus track on the reissued edition of the album, "Here and Now"***, is also a worthwhile listen: the most Beatles-inspired song, with excellent use of cello. It's sadness is more subdued and the overall feel is more regal and baroque, similar to side 1 of the album(but better). It doesn't feel as "finished" as the other songs though, and that's a pity.

Check the four and five stars songs on youtube if you're interested. If you like beautiful acoustic folk with arty aspirations and a sad undertone that is present on the entire ride, this one's for you. It's follow up album, however, carries on in a similar vein but is clearly superior to this one. It is less monotone and sounds more mature and modern. That's not all that strange: Browne waited 5 years to release another LP!!!

(A real debut album where all the standout tracks are on side two. 3 stars, because of the dated feel and monotony. )

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 The Wild Places by BROWNE, DUNCAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.95 | 2 ratings

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The Wild Places
Duncan Browne Crossover Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars "In the heat of the moment I just lose control"

It seems a shame, but the late Duncan Browne will forever be conveniently listed under the banner of one-hit wonder (in the UK at least). Ask anyone to name a song by Browne, and if they are able to at all, inevitably the reply will be "Journey". That 1972 single saw him make an appearance on Top of the Pops, while climbing to the upper echelons of the UK singles chart. That "Horse with no name" type acoustic number offered a reasonable reflection of where he was at that time, but it represents a mere point in time in terms of his career.

After the release of that single and the album which complemented it, Browne formed the band Metro, their sole album being released in 1976. Most notable about that album was David Bowie's covering of one of its songs on his album "Let's dance". Browne returned to a solo career thereafter, reinventing himself both musically and in terms of image. The first product of this makeover was the 1978 album "The wild places". It is during this period, and the following "Streets of fire" that Browne moved closest to prog territories, although personally I would contend that he never moved closer than >prog related.

For this album, Browne put together a small band, with his guitars and vocals (and occasional keyboards) being supplemented by synthesisers, bass and drums. The result is an album of wonderfully creative atmospheres, strong melodies, and imaginative songwriting.

The strongest statement on the album is the opening title track. Here we have a superbly constructed song which moves from almost inaudible understatement to sweeping crescendo, not once but several times. There is a little Leonard Cohen and a little Bryan Ferry about the song but the main feeling is one of stunning originality. Tony Hymas' contribution on mellotron like string synth also does much to enhance the flavour of the piece.

"Roman Vécu" slows things down, the melancholy, reflective vocal delivering a more orthodox ballad. The fine melody and the arrangement of the song however lifts it from the prosaic, resulting in in a keyboards drenched piece which demands more than a cursory one off listen. There are seven tracks in all, the longest being the 8½ minute three part instrumental suite "Camino real" (no relation to the Steve Hackett number). This quasi- classical composition really does demonstrate how Browne has moved on from his singer/songwriter period and how he is wiling to explore new and unfamiliar territories. There are suggestions of bands as diverse as Yes, Brand X, and Jean Michel Jarre among the myriad of moods and themes which are embraced by the track.

The second side of the album is slightly more conventional, with four songs of between four and seven minutes occupying the side. "Samurai" is an out and out rocker, but the style does not really suit Browne's delivery, his vocals sounding nasally and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the song will get the toes tapping. This is one of two tracks on the album ("Planet earth" is the other) which was co-written with Peter Goodwin in 1976, when they were working together in Metro.

Although lyrically "Kisasazu - The touch" is set in Japan, it has something of a film noire atmosphere, the moody ambience conjuring images of shady street corners and mysterious women. "The crash" lifts the pace and the mood again, but unlike "Samurai", here we have a pleasantly melodic mid-paced pop-rock song. Browne's slightly tremulant vocal is well suited to this, the most commercial of the tracks. The album closes with "Planet earth", the other joint composition from 1976. This is a sort of "Space oddity" meets ELO song which once again has a strong melody and a building, repetitive arrangement. A fine closer.

Overall, a first rate album which sees Browne venturing well beyond his comfort zone, and doing so with a significant degree of success.

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 Give Me Take You by BROWNE, DUNCAN album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.66 | 4 ratings

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Give Me Take You
Duncan Browne Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars The beautiful cover art and the library categorization under "Prog/Psychedelia" (in Helsinki Library) rose my interest towards this album. I didn't find the music very much of the either genre, but that was OK since I liked it anyway. Actually, based on (perhaps too few) listenings of this album only, I would have put him under Prog Folk here. Browne was an acoustically oriented trobadour and his music is charming, rather peaceful, dreamy and hazy, and a bit fairytale-like, and not without some darker tones too. Very well fitting to the album cover!

Some artists he could be compared to: FOREST (prog-folk band from the early 70's), INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, early AL STEWART, ROY HARPER, MAGNA CARTA, why not even Simon & Garfunkel but with more psychedelic haze and roots in British Folk. This album contains 12 tracks varying from one to 5+ minutes in length. There are some highlights but the whole album is pleasant; if I remember right there were no songs that turned me down.

[P.S. This is my 200th reviewed artist. It was aimed to be my 400th review too (just for symmetry), but I miscalculated and it's No. 401. That makes the ratio of 2 reviews/artist, but I have a lot of only-once-reviewed artists. My most reviewed artists include Vangelis, Mike Oldfield ("only" 14 each though), Peter Hammill, Steve Hackett, Moody Blues and Tangerine Dream. I've been quite reluctant to review the "big" names with hundreds of reviews here. Otherwise my reviews list would look quite different!]

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 Wild Places by BROWNE, DUNCAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
3.86 | 2 ratings

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Wild Places
Duncan Browne Crossover Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A rise smile upon my face when I saw the late Duncan Browne added to the archives. It was not too long ago I launched a topic on the forum where I mentioned several prog related songs (in my view, done by not yet added artists) asking the readers if they agreed with me there. One of the songs was this single from 1978 Wild Places, a song I absolutely adore since it was created.

I mainly love the darkish instrumental part in the second half of the song but also the soft start with the acoustic guitar and the genius bass tones. I mean this song is actually magnificent from start to finish and will always be a treasure for me until my last breath. B-side Camino Real isn't half as good I have to say and it prevents me to give this vinyl single the full score. But Wild Places alone could have counted on 5 stars for sure, that's how good it is. Simply one of the best classic rock songs with progressive leanings in history. You bet !

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 Duncan Browne by BROWNE, DUNCAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Duncan Browne
Duncan Browne Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Even if I was not convinced about his belonging to PA I'm quite happy to have the opportunity to review the few albums that I have of this artist that's effectively borderline with prog. I have enjoyed a lot the Metro debut and its follow-up and the first thing that I notice on this is that the opener "Ragged Rain Line" has a lot of Metro, in particular the classical guitar is clearly the same of "Ouverture to Flame" that's IMO the best thing of the Metro debut.

"Country Song" is more or less what the title says: a song of the countryside mainly made of classical guitar and voice has a feeling close to Simon and Garfunkel that's not absolutely bad, but quite few prog. However is a very nice song.

"The Martlet" is more oriented to the British folk, still guitar and voice with other instruments coming and going just to fill here and there. The most similar prog artist is probably Anthony Phillips, but thinking to the mainstream this song makes me think to "Kings of Convenience".

On "My Only Son" the nice thing is the guitar that sounds like a piano. Duncan's voice is warm and middle-pitched. Again his guitar playing reminds to Ant Phillips but the song has an American country influence. As I have written in a post I see many similarities with a country-folk singer named Dan Fogelberg. The reason why I consider Browne "borderline" is this fusion of American and English folk influences.

"Babe Rainbow" is the first true progressive song of the album. It has an interesting melody. Before the blues chorus the melody is obsessive and repetitive. Far from being "experimental" is a good attempt to make something different. Also the arrangements include different sounds respect to the guitar/voice thing.

"Journey" is a folky tune clearly reminding of Bob Dylan also in the singing style even though Duncan Brown has a better voice IMO.

"Cast No Shadow" features piano instead of guitar but it's not very different from the other slow melodic songs listened up to now. I hear Simon and Garfunkel, specially when Duncan sings in 'falsetto' like Art Garfunkel sometimes does.

"Over The Reef" is another song with a country mood, but I hear also an influence from the British pop of the 70s in the chords sequence.

"My Old Friends" makes me think to the acoustic Rod Stewart of "Footloose and Fancy Free", but this is more acoustic as the only instrument is again the guitar.

"Last Time Around" is a kind of folk song reminding to Jethro Tull. A mixture of dark blues and English folk. The most appealing song for proggers.

"In A Mist" is opened by a finger picking guitar. Anthony Phillips but also Paul Simon again as possible references. This is a quite long acoustic ballad.

"Send Me The Bill For Your Friendship" sees the first electric guitar. It's a song that has a good "Caravan" flavor. Browne sings high-pithced like Pye Hastings and I think that this song could stay on the A side of In The Land Of Grey And Pink (it's surely better than "Love To Love You").

"Guitar Piece" is what the title says. A good performace also from a technical point of view. Nobody can say that Browne wasn't an excellent classical guitar player.

The closer is another very nice short song. The guitar has a lot of reverb and this adds an ethereal touch.

If you are a guitarist this album is surely interesting. Also for who like me has discovered this artist from Metro this is interesting as there's a lot of this guitar in "Criminal World".

A good but non-essential album from an excellent classical skilled guitarist with a warm voice.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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