Edgar Broughton: ‘By Myself’

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The Dog was a big fan of the Edgar Broughton Band in the late Sixties and early Seventies, when they played a mixture of heavy psychedelic jagged blues rock, fronted by Edgar Broughton’s almost Captain Beefheart voice and singing songs of political outrage and social commentary.

The band broke up in 1976 and while there were various attempts at reforming, the plug was finally pulled for the last time in 2010 when Broughton opted to go out recording and playing as a solo artist.

I was most intrigued to see him on the bill of the wonderful New Day Festival in Faversham, Kent in August 2017. I learnt that Broughton would be performing solo, accompanied only by himself on guitar and imagined we would get a run through of some of the Edgar Broughton Band classics and then a long version of “Out Demons Out” to fill in the set. I would have been quite happy with that, shouting along to the final chorus, but how delightfully wrong I was. We managed to secure places on the very front row before the stage area filled up and we stayed there mesmerized by this incredibly talented singer.

As soon as I was able, I ordered myself a copy of this album, Edgar Broughton’s latest. From Thailand this was not the easiest of things to do but, with a little help from a wizard I know, I managed to buy one off Amazon as a download. I am delighted by the results.

Mixing new and old songs from as far back as 1971 (“Poppy” and “Evening Over The Rooftops” from the Edgar Broughton Band album) and including many other favorites from that earlier era, Broughton bravely changes the arrangements around to suit playing with an acoustic guitar: “Green Lights” is no longer based around a piano and “Evening Over the Rooftops” has bared it’s soul without the David Bedford string arrangement.

But this does not mean that Edgar Broughton has settled into middle-age by playing the nostalgia circuit, even if it would be the underground one. There are plenty of new songs that demand your attention and they certainly hold their own amongst the older diamonds. “This England” is a biting stab at the state of the nation that Edgar Broughton sees tumblin’ around him as he sings: “This England now is in distress, as bad as we have seen.” No, this old boy has lost none of his teeth. “Christmas Song” meanwhile is a lament of rare beauty of the type that used to be written back in the day when songs had a meaning.

There are all emotions on this album, with Broughton always wearing his heart on his sleeve, some of it making the listener feel quite unsettled as he often hits far too near the mark for comfort. Please do not buy this album if you expect a collection of soulful ballads. You get so much more than that.

At the New Day Festival Edgar Broughton played a song in tribute to his friend Mick Farren (rock legend) called “The Sound Don’t Come”. The song was heartbreaking to listen to and held the several thousand strong audience members spellbound. This will be released on an album next year, making that also a must buy.

Edgar Broughton performs at the 2017 New Day Festival in Faversham, Kent, England.
Edgar Broughton performs at the 2017 New Day Festival in Faversham, Kent, England.

Track List:

Arabesque/All Fall Dow/Speak Down the Wires

Almost Dancing

This England

Ice on Fire

My Salvation

Christmas Song

Green Lights

Red Star

Cool Dark Room

Poppy

Say You Love Me

Soldiers of the light. There’s a Hole

Evening Over Rooftops

Aerial

Shaman Calling

Note: Written by Mott The Dog and pictures from my good friends at the New Day Festival. Mott can often be found in Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.