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Edgar Broughton Band, The: Bandages

When the Edgar Broughton band was in its heyday, it was impossible to separate what they played from who they were.

The Broughton brothers and their band mates were the anti-establishment / anti everything rebels in an era of rebellion, the anarchists in an time of revolutionary activism. Their career suffered for it - they stood on the brink of success around 1970, but when their music took on a political slant and their activities gained them more notoriety than their records, the buying public - to misquote Yogi Berra - stayed away in droves. If the music they produced is any indicator the band seems to have matured somewhat by 1975, but it was too late - the money train was long gone. Still, Bandages was a good summary of the various musical styles the band had adopted through its career, and it was the last real studio album they released.

The style on Bandages is a rough-around-the-edges Woodstock-era hard-rock punctuated with flairs of genius - and above all, dripping with emotion and attitude. That is what defines this record. There are no soppy love songs, no flowery poetry, and no pretty ballads. This is ballsy in yer face stuff. Every song carries a message that is expressed with imagination, sincerity and sometimes a rather British vein of cynicism.

There are nice female vocals in some spots that help soften the piece, but mostly, it's guitar-oriented rock, with Mike Oldfield putting in a guest appearance on guitar, harmonica, and mandolin (on "Speak Down the Wires", "The Whale", and "Fruhling Flowers"). Broughton's singing is a clear, strong lower mid-range. His delivery is sometimes a tortured and desperate as in "The Whale" and sometimes a soothing bluesy tone as in "Lady Life", but usually it has the uncompromising cynical hard-edge that will recall so many of the '60s acts. The instrumentals on many songs amount to a well controlled jam session, and while no one will accuse the dual guitar performances of any level of virtuosity, the southern blues rock influenced style is pleasing and melodic. A small annoyance is that several songs end rather suddenly - with no fade-out or discernable outro.

"The Whale" is a standout piece with an acoustic guitar reminiscent of a Donovan ballad, soft keys, and singing that flip-flops from soft to a harsh, a pained delivery.

An interesting side note - Broughton was probably more popular in some of the smaller markets than at home or in the USA. Australia, New Zealand, and particularly South Africa adopted the band's self-titled record - often called 'the Meat Album' - and "Evening Over Rooftops" was a hit

With the re-issue of their back catalog the band is back, playing live, and Bandages has been wonderfully re-mastered from original master tapes by Eclectic Discs. Broughton's music isn't brilliant, but it's representative of the better acts of its time. And with its track-to-track variety and the strong messages, this album is a must-have for anyone who has any respect for the forefathers of today's progressive music.

Track Listing:
1. Get a Rise Broughton
2. Speak Down the Wires
3. John Wayne
4. The Whale
5. Germany
6. Love Gang
7. One to Seven
8. Lady Life
9. Signal Injector
10 Fruhling Flowers (For Claudia)
11. I Want to Lie

Added: June 11th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Eclectic Discs's Web Site
Hits: 3602
Language: english

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Edgar Broughton Band, The: Bandages
Posted by Steve Pettengill, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-06-11 08:08:29
My Score:

The Edgar Broughton Band were one of those British festival bands that along with the likes of The Pink Fairies and The Groundhogs, enjoyed moderate success abroad but never connected with mainstream US audiences. Bandages was Broughton's first album after leaving the Harvest label and the band's last studio album before breaking up for three years. Originally issued in 1975, Bandages is a bit like an acid rock hangover from the late 60s melded with Spinal Tap. Consequently, the album is a bit disjointed, alternating the Grateful Dead fair of "Get a Rise" with the goofy blues-rocker "Love Gang". In between is a lovely, haunting psychedelic ballad called "Speak Down the Wires" and the guitar crunching "Germany". Bandages is my first encounter with The Edgar Broughton Band so I don't know how it stacks up against the remainder of their discography. I like it...and Broughton and Co deserve thanks for "Signal Injector", certainly the inspiration for David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel and their Shark Sandwich album.

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