Soft rock from the Pacific Northwest, Brownsmith was the duo of Don Brown and Garrett Smith both of whom went on to moderately successful careers as studio musicians.
Written by: Eric
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Don Brown – lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar * Garrett Smith – bass, backing vocals
Additional Musicians: Freddie Salem, Charlie Morgan – electric guitar * Doug Hastings – electric and acoustic guitar * Dave Jackson – electric and acoustic piano * Chris Leighton, Mike Kindler – drums * Luis Peralta – percussion * Martin Lund – flute, clarinet, recorder, accordion, electric piano, saxophone * Murl Allen Sanders – accordion, violin * Norman Durkee, Stacy Christianson – organ * Ron Soderstrom – trumpet * Paul McCandless – oboe * Dee Daniels, Stephanie Janecke, Cheri Adams – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Lightning Lady * 02 Circus Ride * 03 Friends Of Mine * 04 Yukon Lady * 05 July Moon * 06 Forever * 07 Only Love * 08 Sunrise To Sunset * 09 Gold And Mellow * 10 Summer Afternoon
Soft rock from the Pacific Northwest, Brownsmith was the duo of Don Brown and Garrett Smith both of whom went on to moderately successful careers as studio musicians. A genuine touring band that even made its way into Canada, the Brownsmith studio sound was augmented by several guest musicians of note.
These included The Outlaws Freddie Salem and former Buffalo Springfield Doug Hastings on guitars, Michael Kindler and Stacy Christianson from Seattle based band Gabriel who recorded four albums between ’74-’78. As well we’ve Paul McCandless from the highly-touted jazz fusion outfit Oregon. A cult classic among aficionados of 1970’s MOR, Brownsmith’s only album was released on CD in Japan several years ago and as you would expect it is long out of print.
Sophisticated pop music is the order of the day with touches of both jazz and baroque. The classic 1969 album from Appaloosa (pre-Batteaux/Pierce Arrow) is a good bookend, but this was 1975 after all and Loggins and Messina ruled the roost in those days. As far as pop duos were concerned with Brownsmith cherry picking from their style while adding dollops of their own creativity. The production is clear and spacious relying heavily on the woody tones of flute and oboe while adding flourishes of colour and jazzy warmth within the pop song structure.
In my opinion, if the groundbreaking ‘new age’ label Windham Hill had tackled rock music in their heyday, Brownsmith would have fit perfectly on their roster. Standouts and there are many, include the child-like pop of ‘Circus Ride’, the quasi-funky cover of Bill Quateman‘s ‘Only Love’ and the proggy west coast of ‘Gold And Mellow’ which is the clear winner in my book mixing early Ambrosia and Shadowfax for an intoxicating aural brew that should be heard by all.
Brownsmith is a fine record and a worthy addition to any serious collection, apparently there are two different versions of the artwork floating around. One in black and white which I’ve never seen other than on a couple web site listings and the more commonly found green cover shown above which is also the version used for the elusive CD reissue.
Brownsmith on Video
Gold And Mellow
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