Duncan Browne

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Duncan Browne

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:29 am

As there is no "singer/songwriter" section anymore I think that "folk" may be the most appropriate label for Duncan Browne.
Duncan (not related to Jackson Browne, musically or biologically) was a great classical guitar player who used his skills for
his songwriting, creating his very own sound as a result. Browne's pickings are unlike anything else I've heard and although he's frequently
compared to Nick Drake the comparison is more than flawed - Drake never came from a classical background and has developed
a similarly individual style but a very different one still.

Duncan died way too early in 1993 (aged 46) and released very few records. The first record, "Give Me Take You" (1968) is worth owning
as a testimony of British Psychedelia songwriting. It contains some very fine examples of his guitar playing but the lyrics - written by a friend
of his whose name I don't remember right now - are a bit corny. His eponymous second record, released 5 years later (1973), is his most
accomplished musical statement. Many songs, like "Ragged Rain Life", "Country Song", "My Only Son" or "Over The Reef" should be stone-cold
classics. The song "Journey" was a hit single, making Duncan Browne famous as a one-hit wonder only. Later releases include an album with the
duo / band(?) "Metro" and 3 or 4 more solo projects. The latter records are not as interesting though: The production is quite cheesy,
the songs may still be good but the signature guitar playing can rarely ever be heard as Duncan appears to have decided to "go electric". There are absolutely no guitar tablatures on the internet and to my knowledge there are no songbooks on the market either. I've begun to write down some of the guitar parts as sheet music but it's a labour of love and coming along slowly since I don't really have much time for it. Still, Duncan Browne is a songwriter who deserves his own thread for his first two records alone. Give them a try, my guess is that you won't regret it.

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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:43 pm

1) Ninepence Worth of Walking

This is a song from his first record "Give Me Take You" (1968). Interesting picking, beautifully performed.
You can hear the classical roots of his songwriting.


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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:45 pm

2) Over the Reef

This is the song that first brought Browne to my attention. Brilliant picking accompanying and underlining the vocals at the same time,
a beautiful melody and playful if uneven lyrics. One of my favourites, from his greatest accomplishment, the album "Duncan Browne" (1973).


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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:48 pm

3) My Only Son

Hauntingly beautiful, this never gets old, partly because he uses classical chords instead of the conventional ones, making them sound
fuller and more open for modulation. Browne always seems to have reflected which chord position would be best for the progression
which is why even the simplest progressions sound kind of sophisticated when he plays them. Notice the beautiful interludes and the
brilliant ending.


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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  Lee Van Queef on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:49 pm

Stop showing off that you can now post videos.

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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:53 pm

4) Ragged Rain Life

I could go on and post the whole second album but you will probably find it yourself if you want to. This is the opener, one last example, showing that
Duncan was not only an exceptional scholar of classical guitar music but also of progressive rock and psychedelia. The mixture of the etudesque
arpeggi at the beginning and the electric parts is as balanced as possible, imo. The sound of the rock sections is a bit dated but what do you expect
of a (non-jazz) album from the early 70s?


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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  TinyMontgomery on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:54 pm

Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef wrote:Stop showing off that you can now post videos.

Laughing

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Re: Duncan Browne

Post  pinhedz on Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:19 am

I think the management combined the singer-songwriter section with the folk section.

Also, I seem to remember that in our attempts to define "folk" J-Mac approved the definition that anybody owning an acoustical guitar was a "folk" (although John Fahey said "I am not a Volk--I went to Berkeley").

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