Archie Brown & The Young Bucks
A Stroll Around the Dark Edges of England’s Green Elysian Fields.
A couple of weeks ago Archie was self-promoting this release across Social Media; and for once in my life I was too embarrassed to get in touch asking for a ‘Review Copy’ ……. which normally isn’t a problem.
But this is Archie Brown!
So; when a Press Agent got in touch asking if I’d like a copy of the new album from the Ex-The Bureau singer Archie Brown; I did my Snoopy ‘happy dance’ ….. of course I bloody would!
Yes Archie was the singer in the spin off band from Dexy’s Midnight Runners; and damn fine they were too both on record and especially live too; but to my generation of rocking and rolling R&B’ers in and around the NE Postcode Archie Brown & The Young Bucks are genuine bonafide Rock & Roll legends.
Archie and variants of the Young Bucks have been around since those heady sweaty nights in the Cooperage and Red House in the mid 70’s, when Newcastle’s Quayside was a dangerous place to visit; then becoming a ubiquitous support act for most bands on the circuit; and Brown himself has subsequently re invented himself too many times to describe and now he is firmly in a singer-songwritery, Folk singer mode; which suits his rich, world weary and lived in voice perfectly.
Opening track Madam Cocaine stopped me dead in my tracks; is it really about a cocaine addiction or is that the name of his lover? Or both? It’s not clear; but that’s the where the subtle cleverness of Brown’s songwriting oozes out in every line.
The current single; and title track Lonesomeville follows; and sounds like something I’d half expect to hear on a JJ Cale album of outtakes; which makes it sound twice as good as most songs you are likely to hear on Radio 2 these days. Plus; it’s the first time; but not the last were we get to hear the mellifluous guitar playing of original member Tony Wadsworth in full flow.
We’ve all grown older and wise in the last 40 years and that comes out in most every song here; as Archie writes for the audience that has grown up with him; we may still occasionally hunt out an old cassette of those early live gigs or a scratched LP of Bring Me The Head of Jerry Garcia or (my personal favourite) Turks Head Soup; but in the warm light of day we are more likely to put the kettle on and choose to listen to the winsome Buds of the Morning. The Field or Steady As She Goes from this album; or if we want some (relative) excitement perhaps Howl at the Moon or more likely the toe-tapper, Skit Ender.
Even at this stage of his career Archie has the ability to drop in musical surprises that, while not exactly making your jaw drop but at least make you smile a ‘knowing smile’ ………. which is what happened when I first heard Serious; which has a ‘big ole sound’ to it featuring the legendary Pat Rafferty on organ !
Selecting a Favourite Song hasn’t been as easy as it should have been; Fifty Pence Song captured not just my attention, but my heart the first time I heard it; not just because my mate Steve Nash on stars on trumpet but, especially the chorus:
“It’s a Fifty Pence Song
In a hundred pound world“
and Brown’s observations of the world around us are absolutely spot on …… and in a parallel universe I can certainly imagine Joe Cocker picking up on this for one of his albums.
Yet; the more I’ve played LONESOMEVILLE two more songs have made me sit back and listen intently, first is the album closer Open Water; which is constructed completely ‘differently’ from everything else here; but that just makes it more exceptional than you’d expect if you hear it on the radio (and again Joe Cocker esq. springs to mind in the way Archie Brown delivers his sensitive and evocative words).
The other; and probably my Favourite Song, is Big Girl. Arguably the most reminiscent of the artistes earlier works; but the arrangement and musicianship from all concerned is very much ‘contemporary’ and that’s meant in a constructive and positive manner.
This will sound odd; but the biggest surprise here is that to fans like myself; there aren’t really any surprises here ……….. this is yet another step in the long road that Archie Brown has travelled over the decades; and a very fine one it is too; and I doubt that this will be anywhere near his last ever release ……. thankfully.
Released Aug 7th 2020
Buy Don’t Spotify https://archiebrownandtheyoungbucks.bandcamp.com/releases