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Wednesday 10 June 2009

Pete Brown

Warning: there is some recent music in this post! I realise this is out of character for me, but it is linked to much, much older music, so bear with me.

Today we feature, in a very cursory way, the long and estimable career of Pete Brown. Starting out as a poet in the early 1960s, he became a stalwart of the underground scene.

In the mid-1960s he formed "The First Real Poetry Band" with John McLaughlin, which led to him being spotted by Jack Bruce who recruited Pete to write many of the lyrics for Cream (including "White Room" and "Sunshine Of Your Love"). After Cream split Pete continued to work with Jack Bruce, but also fronted a couple of bands of his own - The Battered Ornaments and Piblokto! - who released a few albums on Harvest in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The best stuff from this period was released on a CD called "Living Life Backwards" in 2006 - it is currently available for £7.78 on Amazon (UK) and worth every penny.

After Piblokto! split in 1972 Pete made one album with Graham Bond, since when his recorded output has been intermittent. But now, not far short of 70, he has popped up as lyricist, percussionist and backing vocalist with brand-new band T. Mandrake. And a new album with Phil Ryan called "Road of Cobras" is also apparently imminent.

You can't really do justice to Pete with only two songs, but consider it a taster to encourage you to explore further.

First up is "Station Song Platform Two" by Pete Brown & Piblokto! (1970)

And second is "Broken Flowers" by T. Mandrake (2009)

I found two fairly recent clips of Pete on YouTube but one was obviously taken by a member of the audience and is ruined by some bloody woman talking all the way through - thus recreating perfectly the average gig-going experience in London these days - and the other is just a bit dull. So instead here is his cousin, Marty Feldman.

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