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Digitally remastered and expanded two CD edition of this 1968 album featuring 25 rare and unreleased recordings and a 1968 vintage radio interview. Packaged in a hardbound booklet with rare photos and sleeve notes featuring commentary from Sal Valentino, Ron Elliott, Lenny Waronker, and lyricist Bob Durand After releasing the baroque-pop classic Triangle in 1967, The Beau Brummels shifted gears radically the following year when singer Sal Valentino, guitarist Ron Elliott and producer Lenny Waronker traveled to Nashville to explore the crossroads of Country and Rock. Working with some of Music City's hottest session players, the West Coast group recorded this album whose fusion of styles earned critical acclaim, but was too far ahead of the curve for the average rock fan to enjoy commercial success.
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Waronker had a deep appreciation for the band and wanted to see them to achieve commercial recognition on the same level of their earlier work. Elliot was enjoying a measure of success as a songwriter and session guitarist while Valentino’s sturdy vocal treatments had been recognized as some of the finest of the day. Waronker had the idea that these new songs might benefit from the production style that reinvented Bob Dylan on his most current studio recordings. He called in a few markers and dispatched the same contingent of Nashville session ringers featuring the red hot guitarist, Jerry Reed and the ready rhythm section of Norbert Putnum and Kenny Buttrey. Putnum and Buttrey were part of a youth movement in Nashville and followed the Brummels, they eagerly slotted right in as recording began.
This group of session musicians showed (for the time) an unusual respect for the long haired popsters. In Nashville things were still very clean-cut, not at all like the laid-back “smokey”-ness of the LA scene happening during sessions for other country-fied rock acts such as CSN. But Elliot was very accomplished and arrived with arrangements in hand for these new songs.
The carefree structure of the songs appealed to the session players and the record was recorded in a matter of days. The original 11 songs portray the immediacy of a loose but keenly constructed collection of numbers that live as a unified body of work. Loaded with country-pop hooks, the album set the blueprint for country-rock moving forward into the 1970’s and beyond. The tasteful blending of multiple guitars created an orchestra of strings that sounds as fresh today as anything else in alt-country. The bonus tracks tell the back story.
For music fans of the band and alt-country, this is a valuable addition to any collection. A forgotten jewel, Bradley’s Barn is an indispensable slice of music history.
By 1968 the Brummels were pared down from a quintet to the duo of Elliot and Valentino. In 1967, as a trio, they had recorded "Triangle" which earned the respect of the undergound rock critics but never gained a large audience. It was arguably one of the best releases of 1967, but the long shadow cast by a new wave of psychedelic bands doomed "Triangle" to the lower reaches of sales charts. "Bradley's Barn", recorded one year later was the Brummel's swansong and has become a page that was torn from the book of rock history. Elliot and Valentino went to Nashville to record the album in the famed studio named for Owen Bradley, the legendary country music producer. The excellent Nashville hired studio guns are so good they sound as if they have been members of the Brummels for years. Elliot's maturity as a songwritter shines on cuts like "Cherokee Girl", "Turn Around" and "Deep Water". There is not a single throwaway track on the entire album. Valentino's bittersweet vocals are well suited to the Brummel's new countrified context and the rough-hewn expressivness of his vocals rivals that of his peer Gene Clark of the Byrds.
This album is truly a lost classic. I have been looking for it for nearly 30 years and finally the venerable Collector's Choice label has taken the initative to reissue it. The icing on the cake is that Collector's Choice just released "Triangle" which with "Bradley's Barn" constitute the crown jewels of the Beau Brummels musical legacy. If you want to hear two of the best albums of the sixties, you will want to buy both "Triangle" and "Bradley's" which are the final two chapters in the lost history of a great band.
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The bb's really did a great job here with their early country rockin classic.Read more