Brute Force – Extemporaneous

Second album from '60s NY oddball, aka piano man Stephen Friedland

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By the time George Harrison began championing his 1969 Apple single “King Of Fuh”, Friedland had already been a moderately successful songwriter for Del Shannon and The Creation, as well as a member of Brooklyn’s The Tokens (see 1961’s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”). Unsurprisingly, the aforementioned 45 was slapped with a blanket radio ban (the chorus?wait for it?twisted the words around. Bonkers, eh?) and Extemporaneous was issued on The Tokens’ own imprint. Recorded studio-live before a maddeningly fawning crowd, it’s a kind of aural improv equivalent of Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing In America, minus the style or cutting imagery. What strives for inspired surreality?between Zappa, Lord Buckley and Edward Lear?instead sounds like Richard Stilgoe in a Dada dreamcoat. A pity. Barrett-esque bonus track “Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On In My Mind But Me” is a psychedelic flicker of what might have been.


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The Velvet Underground, The Black Crowes, Bunny Wailer, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson, Blake Mills, Postcard Records, Mogwai and The Selecter