[Review] Brinsley Schwarz: Silver Pistol (1972)

Brinsley Schwarz channels the sound of Bob Dylan and the Band on their third album.

Kronomyth 3.0: The basement types.

The group’s third album sounds a lot like Bob Dylan circa Blonde on Blonde. It’s not really where their strength lies, but there are worse artists to imitate. I don’t know why the band felt like they needed to shift direction; maybe the sessions with Ernie Graham unearthed some latent affection for the bard. At any rate, Silver Pistol isn’t a bad record, you just won’t find anything as swell as “Country Girl” on here, which is a shame.

The album is otherwise notable for the addition of Ian Gomm, who served as a second singer/songwriter to Nick Lowe. Gomm contributes a few tracks including One More Day and the instrumental Rockin’ Chair. Lowe is still the group’s main songwriter and he comes up with a few likeable tunes (Unknown War, Nightingale). Lowe also steers the band toward Jim Ford’s songbook for two cover songs, Niki Hokey and Ju Ju Man.

I usually resist calling Brinsley Schwarz a country-rock band because stylistically they draw from everything: Everlys rock and roll, pub rock, country, folk, etc. That said, Silver Pistol is basically a country-rock record that would fit neatly alongside contemporary albums from Bob Dylan and The Band. Maybe you were waiting for the band to cement their affection for country-rock, in which case Silver Pistol is worth a shot. I was waiting for them to abandon country rock for pub rock, so I guess I’ll just have to wait a little longer.

That’s all I had to say. I know, you wait for a month and all you get is a short review of a Brinsley Schwarz album. Life is unfair.

Original elpee version

A1. Dry Land (Ian Gomm) (2:25)
A2. Merry Go Round (Nick Lowe) (4:01)
A3. One More Day (Ian Gomm) (2:50)
A4. Nightingale (Nick Lowe) (3:00)
A5. Silver Pistol (Nick Lowe) (3:28)
A6. The Last Time I Was Fooled (Nick Lowe) (3:58)
B1. Unknown Number (Nick Lowe) (2:48)
B2. Range War (Ian Gomm) (2:25)
B3. Egypt (Nick Lowe) (5:13)
B4. Niki Hokey (Jim Ford/Lolly Vegas/Pat Vegas) (3:20)
B5. Ju Ju Man (Jim Ford) (3:30)
B6. Rockin’ Chair (Ian Gomm) (2:08)

8-track original version
A1. Dry Land
A2. Merry Go Round
A3. Niki Hokey
B1. Range War
B2. Egypt
B3. Rockin’ Chair
C1. One More Day
C2. Silver Pistol
C3. Ju Ju Man
D1. Nightingale
D2. Unknown Number
D3. The Last Time I Was Fooled

The Players

Bob Andrews (keyboards, vocals), Ian Gomm (guitars, bass, vocals), Nick Lowe (bass, guitar, vocals), Bill Rankin (drums), Brinsley Schwarz (guitars). Produced by “Brinsley Schwarz” and Dave Robinson. Recorded and mixed by Anton Matthew; mobile engineering by Chris Hollebone.

The Pictures

Cover by ‘Ello Mum. Photos by Chris Gabrin. Art design by Jeff Powell.

The Plastic

Released in 1972 on elpee and 8-track in the UK (United Artists, UAS 29217), the US (United Artists, UAS-5566/U-8367) and Japan (Liberty, LLP-80602).

  1. Re-issued on elpee and compact disc in 1986 in the UK (Edsel, ED/ED CD 190).
  2. Re-packaged with Please Don’t Ever Change on 2-for-1 compact disc in 2004 in the UK (BGO).

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