Thursday, December 15, 2005
Credit and thanks goes to my knowledgeable colleague and friend Alan Bisbort, who got me interested in the Beau Brummels after he wrote a piece about great underappreciated albums a few years back, in which he bathed the BBs in praise. Recently he dropped a stack of rare vinyl on my desk, including several Lindesfarne records, Beau Brummels, Pearls Before Swine and other musty gems. In a recent issue of Mojo, the Beau Brummels' Nashville record, Bradley’s Barn, was singled out as a lost classic and compared to all kinds of great things. As it happened, the write-up started me on the lookout for an Everly Brothers record called "Roots," described as something of a return to their country heritage. I picked up a copy of "Roots" in Amherst recently on a vinyl binge with Lefty and Dewey Dell. When I got home and listened to it, in addition to their excellent version of Merle Haggard’s wonderful deathrow nostalgia lament "Sing Me Back Home,"a track called "Turn Around" immediately won me over. When I pop on Bisbort’s copy of Bradley’s Barn, what’s the first song? "Turn Around," which is an original BB number penned by Ron Elliot. For evaluation, here are both the Everly’s and the BB’s verion of "Turn Around."
The Beau Brummels are credited with a lot of pioneering moves and near firsts. In 1964, they were ahead of the curve in emulating the Beatles and Brit invasion bands. Their high harmonies and harpsichord-heavy production pointed the way toward San Fran psychedelia. And the BBs got all country-rock before it was the thing to do.
The Beau Brummels record Triangle got me thinking. I spelled out a dictate -- a rock and roll fatwa -- in the Iron Butterfly posting, namely that more bands should have their own theme songs. Here’s another pronouncement: more songwriters should be writing tunes about geometry. And specifically about two-dimensional shapes. As evidence of the good that comes of it, here’s Linda Perhacs’ "Parallelograms," from the 70s record of that name. And also the BB’s "Triangle." I’m pretty sure someone’s written a tune called "Octagon," but I’m not gonna look into it at the moment because I feel inspired to go pen a song called "Rhombus."