Paper Bubble


Band members                         Related acts

- Terry Brake (aka Terrence Brake) -- vocals, guitar  

  (1969-70)

- Brian Crane -- vocals, guitar (1969-70)

- Neil Mitchell -- bass (1969-70)

 

 

- Stillbreeze (Brian Crane)

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Scenery

Company: Deram

Catalog: SML 1059
Year: 1970

Country/State: Shrewsbury, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: stereo UK pressing

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD 5851

Price: SOLD $120.00

 

Recording as Paper Bubble singer/guitarist Terry Brake, singer/guitarist Brian Crane, and bass player Neil Mitchell are a complete mystery to me. They were apparently from the Shrewsbury area and somehow attracted the attention of pre-Strawbs Dave Cousins and Tony Hopper who helped them score a contract with Dream.   Unfortunately what little attention their obscure 1970 album "Scenery" gets seems to stem from the fact Cousins and Hopper produced the collection.  That's unfortunate since the album was actually far better than the isolated reviews would have you believe.  Mind you, this one won't change your musical landscape and it's probably way too fey for lots of folks.  That said, the trio had more than their share of successes on this obscure release.

 

back cover of LP: left to right: Terry Brake - Brian Crane - Neil Mitchell

 

- 'Fillin' a Gap' introduced the trio's brand of acoustic pop, complete with nice three part harmonies.  Backed by drums and mildly psychedelic full orchestration, the opener actually rocked considerably harder than most of the album.  More commercial than much of the album, the track was also one of the creative highpoints.   rating: **** stars

- 'Being Human Being' sported a poppy and breezy melody that sounded like something Donovan might have recorded in the mid-1960s.  Nice song except for the 'doobie, doobie wahs' at the end of the song.  Sounded like they simply ran out of words.   rating: *** stars

- 'She' was a pretty acoustic ballad that showcased the trio's nice harmony vocals.  Nice acoustic guitar picking, oboe (?) solo and tasteful orchestration made it a surprisingly enjoyable performance that bore a modest resemblance to something Paul McCartney might have written.   rating: **** stars

- Kicked along by flute and acoustic guitar, 'I'm Laughing' had a folky feel that actually reminded me a bit of something The Free Design might have recorded had they been English.  The song was quite fragile with a pretty melody and again underscored their nice vocal harmonies.    rating: ** stars

- Another fragile, acoustic ballad (see a trend here), 'Just an Actor' was interesting in that it had a distinctive 1960s feel.  A perfect song for English literature majors, or overly sensitive types.  Mitchell's bass was quite nice on this one.  rating: *** stars

- 'Energy' opened up with an unexpected Spanish guitar segment and then collapsed into another sensitive singer/songwriter ballad.  The mid-section off the song then exploded into a highly orchestrated rocker, before closing out with another dollop of acoustic balladry.  rating: ** stars

- Opening side two the title track was another heavily orchestrated wistful ballad.  Pretty, but once again the highlight came in the form of their close knit harmonies.   rating: ** stars

- Another heartfelt ballad ...  'MM of LA' at least sported a bit of jazzy guitar.   rating: ** stars

- There's nothing wrong with a nice ballad, but stacking three of them back to back simply wasn't a great idea, especially when 'Silly Bit of Sentiment' was the sappiest of the three.   rating: ** stars

- Thankfully 'Mother Mother Mother' demonstrated the trio could actually rock out.  The lone real rocker complete with a killer fuzz guitar solo and great keyboards (Rick Wakeman?), the track was easily the best song on the album and could have generated some chart action for the trio.  Shame they didn't pursue more stuff in this vein.   My only complaint is that the track faded just as it was starting to really cook.   rating: ***** stars

 - Kind of a dreamy, acid-folk effort (one of the few songs where that's an apt description), 'Tomorrow Never Comes Like a Silver Spoon' was interesting for incorporating a touch of Eastern influences (sitar)  in the arrangement.  Probably the best ballad on the album.    rating: **** stars  

 

"Scenery" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fillin' a Gap   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

2.) Being Human Being   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

3.) She   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

4.) I'm Laughing   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

5.) Just an Actor   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

6.) Energy   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) Scenery   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

2.) MM of LA   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

3.) Silly Bit of Sentiment   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

4.) Mother Mother Mother   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

5.) Tomorrow Never Comes Like a Silver Spoon   (Terry Brake - Brian Crane) - 

 

The trio apparently recorded a follow-up LP tentatively entitled "Prisoners, Victims, Strangers and Friends", but as far as I know it was shelved making this it with respect to their recording career.  Let me know if I missed anything.

 

Brake ended up moving to the US where he's become head of a business management consulting firm - TMA Americas.  He's also written a number of business oriented books.  If you need advice you can contact him via his firm's website:

 

http://www.tmaworld.com/person.cfm?intpeopleid=35

 

Crane reappeared as a member of the band Stillbreeze.  He and Mitchell are still alive and living in the UK.

 

 

SRB 10/2009

 

 

 

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