Aubrey Small were a promising British prog outfit during 1971, but disappeared without trace before you could say boo.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Aubrey Small
ALBUM: Aubrey Small
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Peter Pinckney – lead guitar, vocals * Rod Taylor – keyboards, vocals * Alan Christmas – guitar * David Yearley – bass * Graham Hunt – drums, guitars, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Country Road * 02 Gardenia * 03 Trying To Find My Way * 04 For My Lady * 05 It’s Morning * 06 Why? * 07 Love On * 08 Born To Be * 09 If I Were You * 10 Oh! What A Day It’s Been * 11 Smoker Will Blow * 12 Wonderful
Aubrey Small was another extremely talented group in the long list of British progressive rock artists that appeared on the scene with much hope and promise and quickly disappeared without a trace. From England’s south coast, gigs with Kevin Ayers, Free, Stackridge, ELO, Hawkwind and a UK wide tour with Supertramp failed to ignite much interest in Aubrey Small although copies of their only LP are a serious collectors item, but unlike many such albums this one is worth a listen or three.
What makes this record so enjoyable for this reviewer is Aubrey Small had a strong melodic sense. With one foot in progressive rock and a big toe in pop, this style of music always puts me in a good mood not to mention the obvious comparisons to late period Beatles and the wow-o-meter hits eleven. Throw in some Barclay James Harvest and Moody Blues influences and you have a quintessentially English record that is truly a delight to the ears.
Favorite tracks include the haunting ‘It’s Morning’, the ‘All You Need Is Love’ influenced ‘Love On’ complete with Pepper-esque strings and ‘Smoker Will Blow’ which takes on the Moody Blues at their own game and pulls it off admirably with delicate orchestration and cosmic vibrations. These highlights aside as a whole Aubrey Small’s record is a remarkably good throughout and a satisfying listen.
Recently reissued on CD from the Elegy label, it seems the group, or at least one member now relocated in France has claimed it’s far from legitimate and has started legal action. Good luck with that. Aubrey Small has also been doing some reunion gigs at their old haunts by the sea in the last few months as well as recording some new material which is available on ‘iSound’. While I can’t say the recent stuff holds up very well in comparison to the debut, it’s nice to see new life from a band that deserved so much better.