Album review: BLUE TO BROWN – Blue To Brown




Remedy-records [Release date 18.02.13]

Blue To Brown features the father and son duo of former Gets/z Loose vocalist and voice over artist Rob Brown and the multi instrumentalist and occasional vocals of Duran Duran guitarist and song writer Dom Brown.

Ostensibly a straight ahead blues album, the nine tracks mine a much deeper vein than the usual blues fare. ‘Blue To Brown’ feels like a coherent body of work rather than a bunch of songs stretched to fill out the extra space offered by a cd. It’s an engaging album that draws on Dom’s beautifully crafted solos and Rob’s considerable vocal presence.

Brown senior has a deep, earthy and expressive baritone that on the close to the mic phrasing of ‘Bad Boy’ veers towards to the darker, edgier style of Nick Cave. Dom’s thoughtful production gives several songs an extra colour, as on Anna Ross’s gospel tinged bv’s on ‘Bad Boy’, and Dom own introductory dobro part on ‘Bad Boy’.

The cross generational input also gives the material a distinctive light and shade. The repeated sax motif and funky guitar lines of ‘Going Down But Not Slow’ for example, neatly underpins the opening lyrical couplet of; ‘I’m too old to die young, I’m in the barrel of a gun’. A tale of mid-life crisis, Dom’s subtle use of different tones, and Darrin Mooney’s incisive percussion glues the whole thing together perfectly.

There’s also a subtle tension in the songs, born of Rob’s emotional intensity and Dom’s ability to mirror moods and feels in his solos.

The stripped down ‘Sweet Mercy’ – all handclaps, slide and effects – is a prime example of the darker side of Rob’s lyrics, while the equally narrative driven ‘Talking Blues’ is one part Rob’s low-down growl and one part Dom’s emotive solo. The emphasis on the album’s flow and coherent sequencing is highlighted by the light relief offered by the 50’s style melodic ballad ‘Please Please Please’, on which the vocal duet is underpinned by Dom’s lovely unison guitar lines.

Dom’s playing is inventive throughout and when his SRV influences bubble up to the surface on the muscular ‘I Get Loaded’ – alongside Rob’s caustic Beefheart phrasing – he switches from volume swells to a searing vibrato on a tension busting solo. His sweet tone on ‘The Heat Has Gone’ adds an extra dimension to the contrasting brusque/smooth duet between Rob and Kat Pearson. Martin Winning swaps his sax for a Hammond and Dom adds an eloquent opening solo that draws the listener into the song and all the way through to his eloquent wrap.

The slide/voice end-piece of ‘Love Another Day’ is as succinct as it is perfunctory. It puts the lid on nine conversations between voice and guitar that bring a refreshingly different take to narrative driven blues.**** (4/5)

Review by Pete Feenstra 

In his show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on Sunday 29 March David Randall featured a selection of tracks from “Albums of the Month” (January-March 2020) (29:45)

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 30 March (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 HARTMANN 15 Pearls And Gems (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. II (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 GRAHAM GOULDMAN Modesty Forbids (Lojinx)

Power Plays w/c 30 March (Mon-Fri)

LOUISE LEMON Devil (Icons Creating Evil Art )
BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE Winter Keeps Us Warm (indie)
ONE DESIRE Shadowman (Frontiers)
CRYSTAL IGNITE Black Mamba (indie)
PICTURESQUE ATTN: (Rude Records/Equal Vision Records)
SKARLETT RIOT Human (indie)

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