Edgar Broughton Band


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968) 

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

- Victor Unitt -- lead guitar, vocals, harmonica

 

  line up 2 (1968-1971) 

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

 

  line up 3 (1971-1973) 

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

NEW - Victor Unitt -- lead guitar, vocals, harmonica

 

  supporting musicians: (1973)

- David Bedford piano

- Madeline Bell -- backing vocals 

- Lisa Strike backing vocals

- Maggie Thomas backing vocals

- Doris Troy backing vocals

 

  line up 4: (1975)

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

NEW - John Thomas (aka Johnny Driver) -- lead guitar (replaced

   Victor Unitt)

 

  line up 5: (1975-79)

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

NEW - Terry Cottam -- lead guitar (replaced John Thomas)

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

 

  line up 6: (1979) as The Broughtons

NEW - Richard de Bastion -- keyboards

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

NEW - Peter Nordon -- guitar

NEW - Pete Tolson -- guitar

 

  line up 6: (1980) 

- Richard de Bastion -- keyboards

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

- Arthur Grant -- bass, guitar, vocals

- Peter Nordon -- guitar

NEW - John Thomas (aka Johnny Driver) -- lead guitar

 

  line up 7: (1982-83)

NEW - Duncan Bridgeman -- keyboards

- Edgar Broughton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Steve Broughton -- drums, percussion

NEW - Dennis Haines -- keyboards

 

 

 

 

- Edgar Broughton (solo efforts)

- Creepy John Thomas (Johnny Driver)

- The Flies (Johnny Driver)

- Johnny and the Drivers (Johnny Driver)

- Magic Muscle (Steve Broughton)

- The Pretty Things (Pete Tolson and Victor Unitt)

- The Original Roadrunners

- Rust (Johnny Driver)

- Tony and the Talons


 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  oo-ra

Company: Capitol

Catalog:  ST-11304
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Warwick, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink; opened; punch hole top left corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00

"oo-ra" is one of those albums that's been in my collection for years.  I can actually remember finding it at a Virginia yard sale; thinking it was probably a set of pedestrian English blues-rock, but buying it for the patented '70s cover art.  That may explain why I owned it for years before actually bothering to play the collection.

 

Formed in 1968 in Warwick, UK,  The Edgar Broughton Blues Band was fronted by brothers Edgar and Steve Broughton.  Edgar handled vocals and guitar.  Steve was the drummer.  The original line-up was rounded out by bassist Arthur Grant , and Victor Unitt on lead guitar.  Their initial repertoire was blues-rock, but as they build a local fan base, they began shifting towards a more psychedelic sound as The Edgar Broughton Band.  Unitt quickly dropped out (reappearing with The Pretty Things), leaving the other members to relocate to London, where they scored a contract with EMI's Harvest label.  Over the next couple of years they released a series of erratic albums, establishing a counter-culture reputation for generating controversy and mayhem - imagine an English version of The Fugs.  

 

 

Not sure it made much difference, but for the band's fourth studio album Capitol marketing decided to repackage the album for American audiences.  Giving the album title a slight change - "Oora" (Harvest catalog number SHVL 810), became "oo-ra", the company also slapped on an updated sleeve for US audiences.  Wonder how much Capitol spent on that marketing research?  Given Barney Bubbles' original UK sleeve was far superior, you just had to wonder if Capitol was purposely sabotaging their own efforts.

 

 

 

 

Self-produced, "oo-ra" is one of those albums that I really like, but I'm at a loss to provide a coherent explanation of what the appeal is.  Musically it was really fragmented, bouncing across all kinds of genres, including Spanish Flamenco ('Exhibits from a New Museaum'), Neil Young angst ('Green Lights') and even Atari sound effect bleeps and burps ('Pretty').  The album's multi-part suite structure was confusing, making it hard to figure out when tracks started and stopped, and with the exception of song snippets ('Face from a Window'), or the Neil Young-ish ballad 'Green Lights' nothing here was going to set radio stations afire.  As lead singer Edgar Broughton's gruff and ragged voice wasn't any great shakes.  Guitarist Victor Unitt's voice wasn't any better.  Exemplified by songs like the spoken-word ''Roccococooler and 'Exhibits from a New Museum', the band's lyrics were just plain odd; occasionally even frightening.  'Eviction' and 'Oh You Crazy Boy' made it clear they were holding on to their social activist agenda, but it just didn't seem to make much difference.  It certainly hasn't aged well.   And in spite of all those criticisms, there was something highly appealing here.  The fragmented project wasn't something you'd find yourself humming on the subway - we'll maybe the rocker 'Things On My Mind', but it was a fun and engaging, madcap journey.  

  

"oo-ra" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hurricane Man  (Robert Edgar Broughton) - 6:10   rating: **** stars

The first time I heard 'Hurricane Man' I wondered if I'd mistakenly slapped a Kinks album on my turntable.  That said, it sounded like a strange Kinks album, with Ray Davies seemingly choking on his tongue after overdosing on a collection of Captain Beefheart albums ...  About half way through the tune the band stumbled onto one of their prettiest melodies (complete with string arrangement), allowing Victor Unit to unleash a dazzling guitar solo.  For goodness sakes, there were even bells, female backing singers, and a nod to Strawberry Fields Forever.  Imagine The Broughtons throwing everything they had at the studio walls.  Surprisingly weird and enjoyable.

    1.a..) Rock 'n' Roll  (Robert Edgar Broughton) - 

2.) Roccococooler - 3:10    rating: *** stars

So let's get weird - 'Roccococooler' featured Edgar's effects treated spoken word lyrics over a echoy, bluesy rock track.  The sweet chorus seemed out of place, but then it was back to the main melody and some whippet powered chanting.

3.) Eviction    (Steven A. Broughton) - 2:57   rating: *** stars

Steve Broughton's shot at the spotlight, 'Eviction' started out with some pretty acoustic guitar and then switched gear into slide guitar powered rock territory.  Yeah, as you may have gathered from the title, the lyrics seemed to be a commentary on the heartlessness of the eviction process.  Loved the mean-spirited landlord lyrics. 

4.) Oh You Crazy Boy   (Victor B. Unitt) - 2:45   rating: ** stars

'Oh You Crazy Boy' was written by guitarist Unitt and also seemed to feature him on lead vocals.  He didn't have much of a voice and while the song had a bouncy, sing-along vibe, it wasn't anything particularly memorable.  

5.) Things On My Mind  (Robert Edgar Broughton) - 3:36   rating: **** stars

Powered by Steve Broughton's frenetic drumming, 'Things On My Mind' may have been the album's most conventional rocker.  Nice melody and two tasty Victor Unitt guitar solos didn't hurt.

 

(side 2)

1.a.) Exhibits from a New Museum  (Robert Edgar Broughton) - 7:54   rating: **** stars

Set over Edgar Broughton's throat searing vocals, Unitt's Flamenco-styled guitar was a surprise as were the unexpected changes in melody - the top-40 pop humming was just bizarre.  I still have no idea what the tune was about.

        1.b.) Green Lights  (Robert Edgar. Broughton) -   rating: *** stars

The pretty acoustic ballad 'Green Lights' sounded like an early-'70s Neil Young track; well Young had he been born and raised in Warwick.  Once again the strange electronic bleeps and burps showed up in the mix.  

2.a.) Face from a Window   (Steven A. Broughton) - 10:26  rating: *** stars

What in the world did I put on my turntable?  'Face from a Window' was built on a totally unexpected mix of bossa-nova moves, sweet harmonies, weird synthesizer effects and some lyrics that are baffling, if not frightening.

        2.b.) Pretty  (Steven A. Broughton) -  rating: *** stars

After a touch of Tangerine Dream-styled noodling, the band slipped into acoustic ballad territory with the sweet 'Pretty.'  Always liked Arthur Grant's melodic bass on this segment.

        2.c.) Hi-Jack Boogie  (Robert Edgar Broughton -  Steven A. Broughton - Victor B. Unitt) -   rating: *** stars

Goofy spoken word segment (ah the glories of rock stardom), led to a slinky, bluesy-vibe that reminded me a bit of early Savoy Brown.

        3.d.) Slow Down   (V.B. Unitt) - rating: ** stars

'Slow Down' dropped the blues part of the recipe in favor of anonymous Foghat-styled boogie rock.

3) Capers (instrumental) (Robert Edgar Broughton -  Steven A. Broughton - Victor .B. Unitt - Arthur Jam Grant) - 1:35   rating: *** stars

After one of the slowest fade-ins I've ever heard, the pseudo-surf instrumental 'Capers' was a nonchalant way to end the album.  Pleasant, but forgettable.

 

 

 

 

 

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