Chris Britton - As i Am (ex. The Troggs, Good Pop Album UK 1969)

Rabu, 31 Oktober 2012

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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Chris Britton's rare solo album sounds much like you would expect if you're familiar with his very occasional singing and songwriting outings within the Troggs. It's fairly pleasant psychedelic-tinged late-'60s British pop/rock, delivered with understated, almost laconically sly vocals. Plenty of the period trimmings of British psych-pop (sometimes echoing those found in the Troggs' own gentler efforts) can be heard: chirpy Baroque-tinged string arrangements, harpsichord, hints of Eastern exotica, buoyant romantic lyrics, melodic acoustic folky guitar, the odd vaudevillian flavor, Swinging London brass, and the like. There's also Britton's own version of a song the Troggs had recorded for a flop 1969 single, "Evil Woman" -- the only tune here, in fact, that Britton didn't write himself (and a notably inferior version to the Troggs' own). In common with many solo efforts by important-but-secondary figures within major bands, however, the material's not outstanding enough to demand attention beyond that band's hardcore faithful. As records within that category go, however, this is above average, so Troggs freaks won't be disappointed. 

As guitarist for the Troggs, Chris Britton made important contributions to the raw British Invaders' sound with his crunchy, wiry style. Though Reg Presley was the Troggs' principal lead singer and songwriter, Britton also took occasional lead vocals and wrote a bit of material on their records, the odd primitive buzzing psychedelia of "Maybe the Madman" and the sultry midtempo rocker "Say Darlin'" (both used on 1968 B-sides) being the highlights in that respect. It's not even too well-known by many big Troggs fans that Britton did an obscure solo LP in 1969, As I Am. A varied batch of period British psychedelic pop songs, sung by Britton in his idiosyncratic, diffidently cool and amused style.

Very rare psychy folk by Troggs' guitarist.
Chris Britton himself, described the LP sleevenote, as "an ego trip", but mercifully it is never self obsessed, bloated, contrived or maniacal. It is fascinating, it is a fascinating colection of a dozen self-penned songs (plus one cover version), but as with most "ego trips", it was ignored by the record buying public. A public not sufficiently curious to investigate the undoubted talents of the Troggs' guitarist - despite the sleeve's hype: "Chris Britton of The Troggs". But then the public weren't interested in solo releases by Reg Presley or Ronnie Bond.

The LP opens with 'Sit Down Beside Me' a great track now finally getting some exposure. 'Will It Last' is harpsichord popsyke, very English indeed. Next up is 'That Was The Time', a Kinks-ish acoustic ballad. The vocal performance is very Ray Davies-like. 'No Sense In Fighting', the only really duff track on this LP, is a bluesy Dylanesque bore. 'Maybe Time Will Change Me' is again, like the late 60s Kinks: nice ballad pop. One of the highlights of the album is 'Fly With Me',

Let the music hypnotise
Explore the underlying rise
And fall with me
Fly to the moon above
Fly on the wings of love
It's free
Dance through the mountain streams
See just how wild your dreams can be...

-- which are delivered in the very best & feyest UK manner, sit atop a very classy funky pop groover, augmented with some swirly sitaresque guitar breaks. Very very nice. 'If You Really Care' is a Kaleidoscope-like (think 'A Lesson Perhaps') folky acoustic piece, with a mildly trippy vibe. 'Run And Hide' is pretty good: Tourquise style pop, let down only by a flat lead vocal. 'How Do You Say Goodbye' is sparkling strings pop a la Honeybus, and wouldappeal to many I'm sure. 'Sleep My Love' is another harpsichord-lead ballad. 'Why Did I let You Go' is gentle, soulful and again acoustic. The version of 'Evil Woman' herein, is probably one of the most extraordinary. Featuring jazzy sax, fuzz and brass, it really is a splendid track. The pensive closer, 'Learn How To Love Life And You'll Be Living' is a hippie ballad, somewhat tainted by a country-blues influence, which features tweet tweet bird song sound effects.

01. Sit Down Beside Me
02. Will It Last
03. That Was The Time
04. No Sense In Fighting
05. Maybe Time Will Change You
06. Fly With Me
07. If You Really Care
08. Run And Hide
09. How Do You Say Goodbye
10. Sleep My Love
11. Why Did I Let You Go
12. Evil Woman
13. Learn To Love Life You’ll Be Living

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