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Friday, 15 November 2013

Brian James and Grand Cru - Chateau Brian

Brian James has been around more blocks than a New York cab driver.
That's a fact.
List the acts he has formed, has been involved with, and then add to the list the artists that he has worked with, and after a while you will realize that in a certain sense he is the oil that has kept some of the best rock and roll machines ticking over for decades now.
The man is indeed a bonafide legend, and I am indeed a fan.
So it's to my great shame that I will admit that I missed the release of the Brian James and Grand Cru album 'Chateau Brian' last year.
I will also admit that until just last week it existed in a blind spot I had.
I didn't know anything about it at all.
I actually just stumbled over a mention of it, and then of course I pounced and managed to get myself one of the limited to 150 vinyl releases.
Money well spent.

I may not be the only person who missed it though so in my opinion it's still worth a mention.

So here's the skinny. On it we see Brian team up with his old mate from their Lords of the New Church days Mark Taylor (Also Simple Minds) and indulge in taking a trip down a less beaten track with some well played out acoustic ditties.
You have your Dylanesque blues squeezed through the Tom Waits ringer, a tip of the hat to the white man reggae of The Clash, and then there's the honky tonk of bar room shenanigans that sound like a drunken Steve Earle holding court getting a look in.
Okay, it would be remiss of me to fail to mention that this is of course a far cry from his stints with The Damned and Lords of the New Church.
However don't let that put you off as throughout Brian rasps his way across the states using his guitar to paint pictures of the Delta, New Orleans and the Irish dive bars of New York city and he does it all in the style of the snapshot.
You could very easily imagine that this release is the result of a late night jam that started and ended with a bottle of red, and that is exactly where its charms lie.
I could suspect that in some ways this was a bit of a vanity piece, but unlike others, where the artists step so far out of the box they feel confines them and in doing so lose sight of who they are, this is one hundred percent Brian and you can hear the relaxed love for what they are doing in the grooves.

If you were to buy it as a completists exercise then you would be missing the point as its a worthy addition to his back catalogue.
Grab a bottle of wine and when it hits midnight dim the lights and pour your first glass and let the record spin.
That's when it will hit home.

Buy it

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