FIVE’S COMPANY – The Ballad Of Fred The Pixie. Retro Disc International RDI 33023. Spanish release.FACTORY SEALEDNEW CD. Originally issued in 1969 on Saga Records. This edition issued in 2008. MEMBERS: Eddie St. John (Eddie Broadbridge), Colin Jordan, and Bob Brunning. TRACKS: Darling I’ve Got Something To Tell You, Prayer Before Birth, I’m A Big Boy Now, The Ballad Of Fred The Pixie, The School Boy, If This Is Love, Break My Heart, Have You Seen, I’m Still Hoping, Now I’m 64, Happy To Be Here, and Time To Pop Off. DESCRIPTION: From what I understand Bob Brunning wishes to forget this album, but I'd have to disagree. Bob, of course, was involved in the early days of Fleetwood Mac with buddy Peter Green and fronted his own namesake British blues rock outfit, Brunning Hall Sunflower Blues Band, which included Colin Jordan. The Ballad Of Fred The Pixie, quite a few chapters away from Brunning’s previous musical endeavors, has a childlike charm in it's songs that everyone can relate to though many may not wish to admit it! Although I'm not big on "concept albums" really (and they were the spin of the time what with Sgt. Peppers, The Moody Blues, Small Faces, Pretty Things, and The Who’s Tommy), this album has an interesting (though predictable) journey through the life of an average Joe from the musical theater feel on the opening Darling I've Got Something To Tell You (where the father finds out from the mother the baby is on the way) to the closing "death" in the slapping gospel type stomp Time To Pop Off. Prayer Before Birth may seem a little depressing but I guess the idea was to come through as the worrying thought of joining the world adventure in to the unknown after all is a reality of birth; it’ll grow on you. This is followed by the apt peppy bounce of I'm A Big Boy Now. The title track successfully takes a page from the book of lullabying children's records. The School Boy is a breezy sing a long while If This Is Love is a well put together, fairly moving lament about teenage love and a favorite of mine from when I first heard this album. Break My Heart is an R & B style crier, Have You Seen is an upbeat, cheery ditty which brings the love birds back together though the slow blues of I'm Still Hoping marks the end of the marriage. Now I'm 64 predictably is an answer to the Beatles' When I'm 64 not only in words, but in music as well. Then, there is the irresistible waltz of Happy To Be Here looking back at life as an old man in a positive light. I wouldn’t consider this essential, but for the occasional spin and a look (or listen as the case may be) at the more pop side of Bob Brunning’s career this has a lot to offer. One site I visited in gathering information for this description compared this to sounding like Melanie Shepherd from Pilgrims Hatch. A definite period piece.
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