The Very Best 50th Anniversary


Some classic tracks

Fun music

Brings back memories

Very good musically


Will be too old fashioend for some

Full Review

You will need to be the wrong side of Forty to have heard of Joe Brown. Perhaps even Fifty. However in his day Joe was as famous as The Beatles and rubbed shoulder with such music elite.

Joe Brown and the Bruvvers were around in the early to mid sixties. They were not really my sort of music at the time but my Husband, being slightly older than me, was a fan. Shopping recently this CD, The Very Best of Joe Brown, 50th Anniversary, and promptly bought it. This CD shows me, though, that many of the tracks were from a slightly earlier period than I had initially thought. After all 50 years ago it would have been 1958.

Joe Brown was a spiky haired British youth before the spiky hair of punk was ever invented. He was always seen as an affable, cheeky, Cockney, and he looks and seems to be no different all these years later.

Born in 1941 he began his musical career in 1956 with his backing band The Spacemen. This band was to become The Bruvvers. I guess as musicians Joe Brown and The Bruvvers were all under-rated at the time.

They just seemed to miss-time things and were not quite fashionable in those heady, sixties, Liverpool days. Their music was more in the vein of the slightly earlier skiffle bands and performers such as Lonnie Donegan.

I read somewhere that most bands and performers seem to become old fashioned and unpopular, at some time, or another, before they become popular again. Many, such as The Beach Boys, end up being hailed as classic performers even though a few years earlier they may been deemed out of date.

I cannot see this happening to Joe Brown, but you never know. I have seen him recently on Jools Holland music show in the UK and he seems to have some appeal and a following these days. There is no doubting that he is a talented musician and he is well respected in his field.

So what do you get on this CD?

There are 25 tracks in all, some of which were successful singles for Joe Brown, over the years. They are:

What A Crazy World (We're Livin' In)
Picture Of You
It Only Took A Minute
Sally Ann
All Things Bright And Beautiful
That's What Love Will Do
I'm Henry The Eighth I Am
Hava Nagila
Souvenir D'Alvito
Sea Of Heartbreak
Darktown Strutters Ball
I'll See You In My Dreams
One Trick Pony
Malt 'n' Barley Blues
Well Alright
Early In The Morning
She Moves Through The Fair
Black Betty
Well Well Well
Picture Of You
Sally Ann
It Only Took A Minute

The earlier tracks on this CD tend to be from Joe's earlier recordings. I was surprised to learn that the Beatles had actually been a support act for Joe Brown and The Bruvvers, in their early days. Apparently Joe Brown is now classed as one of the first guitar heroes.

Favourite tracks for me are:

Sea of Heartbreak. This is one of the tracks which I remember from years ago, liked then and still do.

'All the lights in the harbour, they don't shine for me. I'm like a lost ship, adrift on the sea, the sea of heartbreak, lost love of loneliness, memories of your caress, so divine, I wish you were mine, again my dear, I'm on the sea of tears, sea of heartbreak' Great words and sentiment with a gentle upbeat strumming in the background.

Souvenir D'Alvito. A classical sounding piece of guitar music which has an Italian and summer time feel to it.

Reuben. A traditional folk track which has a country feel to it. This track has a great female vocalist also.

Well Alright. A Buddy Holly track which has a great arrangement and is nothing like the original.

Well, Well, Well is a Bob Dylan song. Now I love Dylan and thought that I would not like this track but Joe does a good job and the result is a very individual version.

Black Betty is another traditional track with a great banjo accompaniment.

A Picture of you was a hit for Joe Brown and the Bruvvers years ago. It is a happy sounding track with banjo and guitars. 'In the night there are sights to be seen, stars like jewels on the crown of a queen, but the only sight I want of you, is that wonderful picture of you'

There are a couple of tracks which appear more than once. 'It only took a minute' appears in it's original form near the start of the CD and as an updated version later on the CD.

The early tracks on this CD which were singles years ago often have a humorous tale to tell, such as 'I'm Henry the eighth I am' However the second half of this CD shows more of Joe Brown's musical diversity and his capabilities. This half of the album also feels more up to date, has more style and seems much better musically.

In Closing

This CD is on sale at around £10 but will only appeal to some music fans. However, even as a none fan, I know I will be playing it more than I would have thought.