Wednesday

Beau Brummels

Bradley's Barn - 1968

Although it was beat out by the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo by a couple of months in being the first true country rock LP, Bradley's Barn is arguably the superior album in the breadth and depth of the original songs hidden inside its pastoral sleeve. Relatively unknown beyond their association with the mid 60s San Francisco psychedelic folk scene, the Beau Brummels’ first hit "Laugh, laugh" was recorded by Sly Stone (then Sly Stewart) in 1964, but thanks to poor marketing, promotion, and the fact that the Byrds basically did the same thing they were doing, only slightly better, the band toiled in relative obscurity until the release of their phenomenal Triangle LP in 67. It's follow up, Bradley's Barn, paired the band (now down to two original members, Sal Valentino and Ron Elliott) with a slew of Nashville hired guns to create a loose, richly layered collection of mostly original material that leads the way more towards the backwoods stuff The Band were laying down with Dylan around the very same time rather than the Bakersfield country rock mashup the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers were dishing out. Criminally overlooked since it was released, the LP is a testament to the astonishing writing and vocal prowess of Elliott and Velentino respectively, and the soaring heights they could reach when everything fell into place. It certainly did here.

10 comments:

JR HeatWarp said...

The credits to Bradley's Barn list David Briggs on keys. Does anyone know for sure if this is the same David Briggs that produced so many of Neil Young's classic LPs? I wouldn't be surprised, myself.

Willard said...

Hey JR,

Never even seen this before. Have a couple of the mid 60s Brummels (and like 'em) but, being only a casual listener, never knew they advanced beyond the basics. Very cool... especially if they took the Sweethearts route. Is this totally obscure and never talked about or did I just miss the boat on ever seeing it? Many thanks for another ear opener.

infinitefool said...

Thanks for this! Heard about it once or twice, but never seen a copy. Looking forward to hearing it.

ryan said...

This album is fantastic... Even better than "Triangle" in my opinion.

Claude said...

If you only know the Beau Brummels for "Laugh, Laugh", then this will be QUITE a jolt. The comparissons to Sweetheart of the Rodeo are well taken. Without those two albums, there might never have been such great bands as Pure Prairie League, Poco (shit, even the Eagles owe a HUGE debt). So thanks for this rarity.

Anonymous said...

Their eponymous re-union album (from, I think, 75) is a real treat, too. Doesn't even sound like a reunion album, just the natural follow-up to this. I have it on vinyl, but if anyone can point us to a link ...

Pants Elk

Anonymous said...

i listen "triangle "since a long time without any tiredness
thanks for this, i expect the best (nice presentation)
L

Anonymous said...

Wanted to hear this for ages - thanks...

ge said...

Holy Crap yes this is a classic --very surprising not to more collectors! Ron Elliott is a great writer & especially guitarist...Heard the Everlys' EMPTY BOXES? =a unique pleaser...You must also check out the new-to-CD eponymous BBs' 1975 side [Collector's Choice]: it is fine.

JR HeatWarp said...

I'm definitely checking out that 75 reunion album, now that it's had a couple of recommendations here. That Everys' record is now on the list too. Thanks for the tip GE!