Modality Stew

Band members                          Related acts

- Bertha Bass -- [ercussion

- Mary Carol Brown - vocals

- Sid Brown -- guitar, banjo

- John Carleton -- vocals

- Chuck Deardorf -- bass

- Susan Gilbreath -- vibes

- Mark Gottlieb -- tabla

- Lorree Knutson -- percussion, bass

- Jim Laurie -- percussion, oci drums

- Marisa Longo --- vocals, tamboura

- Claudia Mauro -- harmonica

- Mike Mason -- vocals

- Michael Micheletti - keyboards

- Marsha Regan -- backing vocals

- Mark Weinstein -- flute, guitar, harmonica




- Peace, Love and Land Band (Sid Brown)

- Spike Drivers (Sid Brown)





Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Modality Stew

Company: UMP

Catalog: UMP 1A/B

Year: 1978

Country/State: Vancouver, Washington

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: includes insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4943

Price: $100.00



Guitarist Sid Brown's first brush with popular recognition came as a member of Detroit's The Spike Drivers.  Following the group's mid-1960s breakup Brown followed half of the country to Berkeley, California where he remained active in music, as well as writing a yoga column for the Bezerkly Tribe.


By the mid-1970s Brown was living in Vancouver, Washington where he continued to write and record material.  I'll let the liner notes to 1978's "Modality Stew" pick up the story: "The creation of a spontaneous and purposely under-produced album free of technologic overkill and deified gadgetry began in Spring, 1978.  For more than a year I had been involved in a mostly unsatisfactory, negative and painful recording project.  For me it was a year of alienation, loneliness and a gnawing-knowing stress.  As a disabled and dissapated (sic) rock n' roll veteran, it was painfully reminiscent of the not-too-goof-old-days of working for a major label recording company, a cynical manager and jaded producers: a nightmare of exploitation and greed.  The depression of repeating history as I guilt-tripped myself into signing an oppressive recording contract lifted as I flew to Athens.  Floating in a transcontinental limbo I felt bewitched, bothers and bewildered.  Escaping, arriving, still hauling lots of psychic baggage, I did almost all of my site seeing within ...  One infinitely long day, lost and abandoned on a resin-wooded mountainside in Crete, halfway around the world I knew where to be and what to do.  Spring spoke: "Plant! Grow! Cultivate life!"  Returning home to the land of moist ferns towering evergreens and comforting comfrey bushes, the music was happily created and taped within a month.  May you enjoy the music.  May it warm, heal, stimulate and move you."


So that should have pretty much primed you for the fact this isn't going to be a set of Spike Drivers-styled folk rock.  Instead, what you get is a largely acoustic and instrumental slice of new age feel-goodness.  Mind you, this has to be one of the first entries in what was to become a mega selling nitch market and Brown certainly deserves considerable credit for coming up with some interesting genre hybrids including 'Banjo Strange-O' which offered up an unlikely mix of bluegrass and raga.  I'll also be upfront and tell you that the laidback groove on tracks like 'D-Sense/Descents' and 'Immamj' makes this a perfect Sunday morning album, but by the same token this isn't the most exciting collection you've ever put on your turntable so you probably won't spin it at your next New Year's celebration.  Personal favorites include the neat East-meets-West instrumental 'Ragu Improvisation', Brown's straight-ahead bluegrass ditty 'Shady Grove' (the pro-ecology message is both catchy and balanced) and 'Sutra Blues' which features some wild Yoko Ono-on-acid 'gamak' vocals from former Spike Driver Mary Carol Brown.  


"Modality Stew" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Karmic Strip   (Sid Brown - UMP) - 3:59

2.) D-Sense/Descents (instrumental)   (Sid Brown - UMP) - 3:10

3.) Banjo-Strange-O   (Sid Brown - UMP) - 3:24

4.) Ragu Improvisation (instrumental)      (Sid Brown - UMP) - 5:55

(side 2)
1.) Shady Grove
   (Sid Brown - UMP) - 3:07

2.) Immamj  (instrumental)  (Sid Brown - UMP) - 5:50

3,) I-Niz-KIm (Medicine Music) (instrumental)   (Sid Brown - UMP) - 5:17

4.) Sutra Blues   (Jody Aliessan - Sid Brown - UMP) - 2:58


As of early 2006 Brown had a myspace profile (look under the name Geriatrick Gracia).  Here's part of his profile:  "Since 1983 he has produced a wide variety of media projects including many cable television programs. He produced the "ACE" winning series PrimeTimers. A Graduate program in counseling has helped him develop innovative ways to support the co-creative empowerment of individuals. His successful grant-funded projects include working with at-risk teens, programming concerning AIDS/HIV, and as an educator/mentor/ counselor for the Teen Aware Project at several school districts. He composed music for the Teatro Milagro production of “Frida, un retablo”. STEVE AMDAHL studied tabla with Zakir Hussain. He is Board member of Kalakendra, Performing Arts of India."