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Brainbox - The Very Best Brainbox Album Ever CD (album) cover





3.14 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Brainbox were more of a pop band which was part of the Benelux invasion of the late sixties and this is a collection of most of their singles released during their brief existence from 1969 to 1972. Perhaps the biggest misconception surrounding this band is that Jan Akkerman was the guitarist throughout this period when in actual fact he appeared on only 3 singles and one album. Overshadowed by the work that Akkerman contributed to neo-classical rock monolith Focus, Brainbox should be remembered in their own right for their powerful showy blend of rock, folk and electric blues much to the credit of Kaz Lux`s angelic vocals which soar up into the stratosphere. In fact, while including everything Akkerman recorded with the band with the exception of the longer cut of "Sea Of Delight" ( we get to hear the single version here ), the other three guitar players which appear on this anthology with Lux are better suited to his bluesy style and don`t clash as much as Akkerman`s over the top antics which chomp more at the bit as evidenced on Dark Rose which is without question the bands staple. The difference between the guitar players can be clearly discerned on the instrumental Mobilea which has a gentle country feel to it which features Rudy de Queljoe who became the mainstay of the group after Akkerman left along with Hermann Meyer and later John Schuursma. Several exceptionally interpreted cover versions from the Akkerman " era" of well known pieces, most notably George Gershwin`s "Summertime" and Simon and Garfunkel`s "Scarborough Fair" will also surely raise some eyebrows upon first play for listeners with more "progressive" expectations. The final two tracks are performed by a band which was put together by the manager of the band who retained control of the band`s name after Lux departed on a solo career with drummer Frans Smit being the only left over member from the Kaz Lux lineups. Included here are the A sides of two singles taken from the only LP recorded by this lineup entitled " Parts". Perhaps included here to make the package more complete many would argue for the longer version of "Sea Of Delight" with Akkerman from the first album which fortunately is also available in CD format. One can see the predicament the new members were in, and one of the tracks entitled "Dilemma", whether intentionally or not, reflects this sentiment leaning more towards straight-forward rock while the other track the folky ballad, "Part Of Me Is Part Of You" attempts to move closer to the sound of the Lux lineups.

One problem with this compilation ( as with many compilations ) is that the tracks are not presented in chronological order perhaps for reasons of musical flow. However this leads to confusion especially given overlapping personel changes within the band over such a short period of time. One of those big "what ifs" certainly arise here as Akkerman, already with one solo album under his belt at the time this material was released, was literally on fire and at a creative peak with an already established virtuosity on his instrument. Ironically, Akkerman was fired by the band`s manager who wanted a more mainstream sound from the band and it was this that lead ultimately to the downfall of the band in the long run with the art/rock movement taking more precedence for popular music audience ears. Nonetheless the song-oriented music found here is actually superior to a lot of similar bands that appeared during the psychedelic craze of the late sixties. Unfortunately Brainbox arrived just alitle too late at a period where musical tastes were in a transition from music that spoke to the body and emotion to music that spoke more to the intellect. Nonetheless, fans of Bad Company, Spooky Tooth or Rory Gallager who have somehow bypassed Brainbox will have no problem appreciating this exceptional band which seemingly fell victim to changing times with all their important work being rationalized in this excellent anthology.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |


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