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Sam Brown


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Ethereal mainstream pop, later alternative pop, moving back to mainstream pop. (Neile)

Pop/rock singer/songwriter. (marcel@kimwilde.com)

Status:

Most recent release, Of the Moment (2007)

See also:

One Candle: The Sam Brown Fan Club official site

Wikipedia's entry for Sam Brown

Comparisons:

paula cole, eddi reader. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Sam Phillips. (mundopax@ingress.com)

Covers/own material:

Mostly her own, frequently songs are co-written, occasional covers

General comments:

Sam Brown is the daughter of Vicki Brown, who was well-known for her singing of arrangements of classical music in the "The Young...[fill in composer]" series. Sam's career started rocketing in 1988 with her second single, the title track off her debut album Stop, which was a number one hit in various European countries. The debut album sold really well and achieved the gold or platinum status here and there. Four singles were taken off the album, from which only "Stop" and "This feeling" were big successes. The 1st and 4th singles "Walking back to me" and "Can I get a witness" were not as successful. Which was probably a sign of things to come.
     No hit singles were taken off April Moon, her second album, despite very attractive limited edition 7"-singles and a heap of unreleased tracks on the CD-singles released in the U.K. The album showed a greater diversity musically. Tracks like "As one" and "Where you are" were shifting towards more piano-oriented songs, when most of the material was still guitar-oriented.
     In 1990/91 Vicki Brown died of cancer, after a hopeful recovery of this tragic disease. This must have been a traumatic experience for Sam, if one has to go by her work. She recorded 43 Minutes, a very personal collection of songs, most of which dealt with this tragedy in a direct way. For some reason A&M didn't approve of this album and after a legal fight Sam got the audio tapes back from the record company and released the album independently. If you're not touched by the music of this album, you're probably made of stone. (marcel@kimwilde.com)

sam brown is wonderful! fairly straightforward songwriting, i would equate her as a british version of paula cole (though i like sam brown better) or perhaps akin to eddi reader? hmmm...very powerful wonderful voice. her last album was called 43 Minutes and dealt a lot with the death of her mother. it is wonderful if you can track it down. she had a minor hit here in the states from her first album, though her second album fizzled (april moon—an album i still really like) resulting in the label dropping her and 43 Minutes being released on a small independent label. i hear that she is playing small gigs here and there nowadays and has new material and possibly working on a new album? i hope so. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Well-crafted pop music with eclectic roots, torch songs, blues, lots of bouncy pop, thoughtful pop, strange, fun songs. Stop has some excellent moments (like the title song), April Moon isn't that distinctive an album—pretty mainstream pop. But 43 Minutes—well it is BRILLIANT and goes far beyond mainstream pop. Unfortunately, Box goes back to mainstream pop. Her other albums only hint at what she can do and does in 43 Minutes. It's really, really emotional and beautiful. (Neile)

I actually have all of the first three albums of the first albums and think they are all great, although personal favourites would have to be "In the Rain" off 43 Minutes—it always brings a tear to my eye—and "Pride and Joy" off April Moon. (NOUDENHOVEN@lbs.lon.ac.uk)

Recommended first album:

43 Minutes—by a long shot. It's her most obviously personal and emotional. (Neile)

43 minutes—most 'ecto-ish' album, in my opinion. (marcel@kimwilde.com)

I prefer Stop and 43 Minutes to April Moon. (LynnGarret@aol.com)

Recordings:


Stop

Release info:

1988—A&M in the U.K., U.S., and Canada—505195
574384T395195-2 (Europe) (cd)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of pop music. (Neile)

Group members:

Sam Brown—vocals and piano

Produced by:

Pete Brown

Comments:

Good pop record with great moments, especially the title torch song, "Stop!" and the silly and fun "Tea". (Neile)

Great rock á la Sam Phillips— a little less catchy. (mundopax@ingress.com)


April Moon

Release info:

1990—A&M U.K. & Canada—70301-9164-2
397036 2 (Europe)

Availability:

Out of print. Can be found used.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Sam Brown completists and lovers of pop music. (Neile)

Group members:

Sam Brown—vocals and piano

Produced by:

Pete Brown & Sam Brown

Comments:

This is my least favourite of her discs. There's nothing wrong with the album, but there's nothing particularly compelling or exceptional about it—it's basic pop music. "Hynotised" stands out as one of the better tracks. (Neile)

43 Minutes

Release info:

1992—Pod Music, U.K.—Pod cd 1; re-released 2004

Availability:

U.K. only

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended—this is a beautiful and outstanding pop album. (Neile)

Group members:

Sam Brown—vocals, piano, Rhodes, hammond, harpsichord, melotron

Guest musicians:

Tony Newman, Berbie Flowers, Jody Linscott, Pete Brown, Julian Stringle, Danny Schogger, Doris Brendel, Margo Buchanan, Julie Harrington, Joe Brown, Paul Bangash, Neil Gauntlett, Mike Sheridan, Phil Middleton, Alan Garfield, Nick Ingman, Gavine Wright, Will Gibson, Bob Smissen, Anthony Pleeth, Anne Whitnell.

Comments:

This is a wonderful album, lively yet mellow, great pop. Each song is well-crafted and above the norm. It seems almost a thematic album about life. Outstanding songs are "Come into My World," "Fear of Life," "See This Evil." This would definitely be on my top ten if I had had a copy of it in the year it came out. Kind of a sweet, dreamy album. Sam Brown's singing and songwriting is tops here—boy can she nail those high notes. I love it. Highly, highly recommended. (Neile)

I was rather pleasantly surprised by this. I like this one a lot better than Sam's earlier albums Stop and April Moon. I think she's growing in the right direction. (awphili@hacktic.nl)

I love 43 Minutes and my way of recommending it to other people is to say "remember back in the 80s there was this song called 'Can I Get A Witness'? well, that was Sam, but she got better...". (Urs Stafford)

43 Minutes is indeed a wonderful album. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)


The Kissing Gate

Release info:

1995—distributed by Karussell Ltd. (also stamped A&M)

Availability:

U.K. only. Available in the U.S. as an import.

Comments:

As for The Kissing Gate, I was disappointed with the entire package. Since the title was one I was not familiar with, I bought it assuming it was a new (or older release). This cd is a compilation of material from April Moon and Stop, with most tracks being from April Moon. The only extra you get is a song she did on a 7" single "Can I Get A Witness" and by the way, this track is on the UK version of Stop. The packaging is cheap—no fold out or anything and has a shot of Sam singing live on the cover. (LynnGarret@aol.com)

Box

Release info:

1997—Demon Records, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 9HF, U.K.—FIENDCD 789; re-released by Pod (2004)

Availability:

U.K. only

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Sam Brown completists and lovers of pop music. (Neile)

Group members:

Sam Brown—lead vocals, piano, and backing vocals

Guest artists:

The Spasm Band: Richard Newman—drums
Aaron McRobbie—bass, backing vocals
Calire Nicolson—Hammond, backing vocals samples, analogue synthesizers
Pete Brown—guitars, backing vocals

Produced by:

Pete Brown & Sam Brown

Comments:

I really like the beginning few songs of this album, "Box" (especially), "Ebb And Flow" and "Whisper," though after those cuts it seems to me to get steadily more didactic lyrically and less interesting musically. It's still strong pop, but exploratory and less to my taste than 43 Minutes—much more like the albums previous to that. I enjoy this every once in a while, but I connected so strongly with 43 Minutes that I had hoped I would like this more. (Neile)

I haven't really listened enough to Box to know what I really think of it. It is indeed a return to the pre-43 Minutes sound. Hearing some of the songs live definitely made me appreciate them some more though. (Marion)


ReBoot

Release info:

2000—Mud Hut Records—505502900523

Availability:

See Mud Hut Records website for availabity

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Sam Brown completists and lovers of pop music. (Neile)

Group members:

Sam Brown—vocals, juno, Hammond, percussion, programming, keyboards, clocks, Rhodes, piano, bass

Guest artists:

Robin Evans—drum loops, programming
Pete Brown—guitars, programmming, vocals, percussion, bass
Jools Holland—piano
Richard Newman—drums
Aaron McRobbie—bass
Christopher Holland—Hammond, piano
Claudia Fontaine, Aitch McRobbie—backing vocals
Gordon Godge McIntosh—bongos, fire extinguisher
Des Barkus—harmonica

Produced by:

Sam Brown and Pete Brown

Comments:

Much of this feels pretty mainstream pop and kind of disappears in my mind because of that, but when the sound is simpler, as in "Breathe In Life" and "Rainbow" this album has the power of my favourite Sam Brown album, 43 Minutes. Simplicity suits her powerful voice. Most of the pop tunes here are fine and I still like her voice, but it's mostly not my thing. Except those rare and wonderful moments where it's mostly just that voice and a piano or that voice and a guitar. (Neile)

Further info:

The Sam Brown Fan Club, PO Box 28916, London SW14 7WE, U.K. Email onecandle@mudmail.co.uk

She sang backing vocals on Pink Floyd's The Division Bell.


Thanks to Marcel Rijs and John Sandoval for work on this entry.

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