[Review] Bruford: Feels Good to Me (1978)

Fifty per cent of U.K. equals one hundred percent awesomeness on Bruford’s first.

Kronomyth 1.0: In the red of night.

Bill Bruford was apparently bursting with musical ideas in the wake of King Crimson, forming a progressive rock band with John Wetton (U.K.) and a progressive jazz/rock band under his own name, Bruford. The latter was the first to release an album, Feels Good to Me, which showcased an exciting mix of musical exploration and mathematical precision that suggested a cross between Brand X and Robert Fripp’s rock experiments.

Bruford recruited an impressive group for his first solo album: Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Dave Stewart (keyboards), Jeff Berlin (bass) and, on a few tracks, Annette Peacock (vocals). Although written mostly by Bill Bruford, the music reflects its musical personalities, from Peacock’s lithe and lilting vocals (drawing comparisons to Curved Air) to Holdsworth’s impeccable/impossible leads. Peacock and, later, Holdsworth left the fold, and the music of Bruford suffered for it, becoming more or less just another Brand X.

Personally, I find Peacock’s presence mesmerizing, and her vocals have a galvanizing effect on Back to the Beginning and Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Part One). On the instrumental side of things, Beelzebub is 100% the brainchild of the man who gave us “Five Per Cent of Nothing,” but the remaining songs look to break from that mold, whether it’s the surprisingly tuneful title track, the melodic jazz of Either End of August (one of two tracks to feature Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn) or Adios a la Pasada, which looks slightly forward to the “big” sound of the first U.K. album.

Of the solo Bruford albums, this is the best. The albums that followed were slightly redundant in a world that already had Brand X in it. You’d expect the inverse given Robin Lumley’s role as producer and John Goodsall’s appearance on Feels Good to Me, but Bruford the band is as unique here as the people in it. One of a kind, indeed.

Original elpee version

A1. Beelzebub (3:16)
A2. Back to the Beginning (7:09)
A3. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Part One) (2:30)
A4. Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (Part Two) (4:25)
A5. Sample and Hold (Bill Bruford/Dave Stewart) (5:12)
B1. Feels Good to Me (3:49)
B2. Either End of August (5:22)
B3. If You Can’t Stand the Heat (Bill Bruford/Dave Stewart)
B4. Springtime in Siberia (Bill Bruford/Dave Stewart) (2:13)
B5. Adios a la Pasada (Bill Bruford/Annette Peacock) (7:55)

Songs written by Bill Bruford unless noted.

CD reissue bonus track
11. Joe Frazier (Jeff Berlin)

The Players

Bill Bruford (tuned and untuned percussion, kit drums tunes and final say), Jeff Berlin (bass), Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Annette Peacock (vocal), Dave Stewart (keyboards, reasonably advanced harmonic advice) with John Goodsall (guitar on B1), Val Joseph (polymoog consultant), Neil Murray (bass), Kenny Wheeler (flugelhorn). Produced by Robin Lumley and Bill Bruford; engineered by Steve W. Tayler.

The Pictures

Sleeve photography by Gered Mankowitz. Inner sleeve photography by Dick Wallis & Jacquie Deegan. Sleeve design by Cream.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette on January 22, 1978 in the UK (Polydor, 2302 075/3100-417), the US (Polydor, PD-1-6149), Germany and the Netherlands (Polydor, 2344 099) and Japan (Polydor, MPF-1130) with picture innersleeve.

  1. Re-issued on elpee and compact disc in the US (EG, EGLP/EGCD-33).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Caroline, 1524).
  3. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 2005 in the UK (Winterfold, BBWF 003 CD) with one bonus track.
  4. Re-released on expanded, remastered CD+DVD in 2017 in the UK (Winterfold) with bonus DVD featuring remixed album in 5.1 surround sound.
  5. Re-released on super-high material compact disc on November 25, 2019 in Japan (Belle Antique, BELLE 193234).

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