Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1971-72)
- Paul Blaney -- bass
- Robbie King (RIP 2003) -- keyboards, vocals
- David Lanz -- keyboards
- Duris Maxwell (aka Peter Lewis) -- drums, percussion, vocals
- Ian McKay (RIP 2014) -- mime
- Eddie Paterson -- guitar, vocals
- Victor Stewart -- lead vocals
- Awakening (Paul Blaney)
- The Chessmen (Duris Maxwell)
- Chillwack (Robbie King)
- The Good Shepherds (Robbie King, Peter Lewis and
- The Hands Staymer Band (Robbie King and Eddie Paterson)
- Hometown Band (Robbie King and Eddie Paterson)
- Little Daddie and the Bachelors (Duris Maxwell)
- Robbie King (solo efforts)
- David Lanz (solo efforts)
- NOW Orchestra (Paul Blaney)
- Papa Bear's Medicine Show (Robbie King)
- Paul Plimnet Octet (Paul Blaney)
- Powder Blues (Duris Maxwell)
- Skylark (Robbie King and Duris Maxwell)
- Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers (Robbie King, Duris Maxwell
and Eddie Paterson)
- Devin Townsend Project (Duris Maxwell)
- The Towne Cryers (David Lanz)
- This Trio (Paul Blaney)
- Trilogy (Eddie Paterson)
- The Tony Wilson Sextet (Paul Blaney)
Rating: 4 stars ****
Country/State: Vancouver, Canada
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
Catalog ID: --
They're the only band I know of that hired a mime (Ian McKay) to punch up their live show ... I'm thinking being a mime in a small Vancouver club might not have been the safest occupation you could find. Drunk club patrons and mimes just seem like a bad combination.
Formed by keyboardist Robbie King in 1971, the Vancouver-based Brahman featured the talents of bassist Paul Blaney, keyboardist player David Lanz, drummer Duris Maxwell, guiatrist Eddie Paterson, and singer Victor Stewart. Apart and together the six members had been a number of bands. Probably the best know of their collective histories, King, Maxwell and Paterson were members of The Good Shepherds before recorded for Motown as part of Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers.
The group's 1971 debut "Brahman" was interesting on a number of levels. First was the fact Mercury Records management had sufficient faith in the unknown group to let them produce their debut album. Equally impressive was the fact they were allowed to record eight original compositions. Not a single popular cover ... Quite rare. With King, Lanz, Maxwell, and Patterson all contributing to the writing chores, the album wasn't particularly original, but the material was diverse and well recorded. As lead singer Stewart having a powerful voice that occasionally even included a mild operatic flavor; kind of a Josh Grobin-meets-Billy Joel vibe. Those traits were aptly displayed on the pseudo-progressive 'Paperwait' and Gentle Giant-esque 'She Went Down' (ignore the title, the song had nothing to do with that subject). Powered by Paterson's excellent guitar work 'Automatic Man' and 'You Changed My Life Around' saw the band turn in a couple of tasty rockers. Sure there were a couple of clunkers. 'Jonathan' sounded like a bad Elton John ballad. The rocker 'Not Exactly a Friend' was dragged down by Maxwell and Patterson sharing lead vocals. Elsewhere 'Build a Tower' had a nice Billy Joel-styled feel, the lyrics were a bit on the heavy side.
Sadly one album and one single was it for the band's recording catalog. The members scattered, most staying active in music, finding work as studio players (Maxwell), turning to solo work (Lanz), or playing in a variety of groups (the late Robbie King).
"Brahman" track listing:
1.) Paperwait (Robbie King) - 4:33 rating: **** stars
The few reviews out there left me with the impression this was going to be a relative commercial pop record. Well 'Paperwait' was commercial, but it was anything but pop ... Powered by Stewart's stilted vocals and kicked along by nice keyboards and a tasty Eddie Paterson guitar solo, the song sounded like a really good Kansas tune.
2.) Build a Tower (David Lanz) - 3:18 rating: **** stars
One of three tunes penned by keyboardist Lanz, 'Build a Tower' was a pretty, piano-powered ballad with some unexpectedly thought provoking lyrics. There was something about the song's earnestness that's always reminded me a touch of Billy Joel. Admittedly singer Stewart didn't sound anything like Joel, but the song just kind of ha d a 'Piano Ma" vibe. Mercury released the song as a Canadian single:
- 1971's 'Build a Tower' b/w 'Not Exactly a Friend' (Mercury catalog number 73235)
3.) Automatic Man (Robbie King) - 5:40 rating: **** stars
Can't say I was expecting to hear a hard rock tune from these guys ... Written and sung by guitarist King, the organ and guitar powered 'Automatic Man' showed my ignorance. Nice energetic rocker that demonstrated the band's versatility. I didn't even mind Duris Maxwell 's extended drum solo.
4.) Not Exactly a Friend (Eddie Patterson) - 2:36 rating: *** stars
An unexpectedly funky tune, the only negatives on 'Not Exactly a Friend' were the song was very short and the fact drummer Maxwell and guitarist Patterson weren't particularly strong singers - they shared lead on the song.
With Stewart back at the microphone, side two opened up with a nice mid-tempo rocker. Actually, this time around Stewart sounded a little operatic - imagine Josh Groban fronting a real rock band.
2.) She Went Down (David Lanz) - 1:58 rating: **** stars
Yeah, the title made you sit up and take notice ... Opening up with a harpsichord solo, 'She Went Down' featured a Baroque flavor. Imagine early Gentle Giant, but without the pompousness. Won't appeal to everyone, but I loved it.
3.) Jonathan (David Lanz) - 4:00 rating: ** stars
I guess they saved the pomposity for 'Jonathan.' This one sounded like Elton John deciding to rewrite 'Candle in the Wind' as an over-the-top progressive tune. Way too heavy for its own good.
4.) Waiting To Love You (Duris Maxwell) - 9:05 rating: *** stars
King's church organ opening on 'Waiting To Love You' didn't do much for me, but about two minutes in the main melody kicked in with Stewart seemingly trotting out his best Mick Jagger swagger. Backed by some sweet harmonies, the tune gradually picked up speed and energy, ending the album on another high note. Two stars for the starts; four stars for the rest of the song. Split the difference and you get three stars.
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