Pt 3

 Harmony Row

The next output from Jack we tracked down was with the Tony Williams Lifetime - very confronting music.  It was only after some years could I come to terms with it but Jack only appeared on a couple of tracks.  Another solo album was to follow in 1971.

My first listening to this confirmed that "Songs For a Tailor" was no fluke.  Harmony Row is distinctly Jack Bruce - songs, arrangements playing.  He is a unique and instantly recognisable.

John Marshall contributes drums (sparer with more back-beat then Hiseman) and Chris Spedding on guitar.  Jack plays everything else with a particular emphasis on the piano - indeed the album opens with Jack accompanying his voice just with piano on the superb "Can You Follow?".  The bass is mixed further back compared to Songs for A Tailor but is, naturally, strongly present with more bottom end.

The songs seem more personalised with Pete Brown's lyrics less abstract.  There is a certain fragility compared to the strength and drive on Songs For a Tailor.  Initial listening gives a feeling of lightness because of the simplicity of the arrangements but as you listen you come to hear a depth and complexity combined with economy.  This is deceptively sophisticated music that is impossible to categorise.

 This remaster includes 5 bonus tracks that are only of considerable interest especially the working up of "Can You Follow" over two takes and the 1st take of  the beautiful "There's A Forest". The electric piano version of "You Burned the Tables On Me" once again shows the right decision was made on the original release.  Jack's production is superb.

This one will always be an early selection for my Desert Island 100 CDs - actually I'll cheat and combine it with Songs For A Tailor on a CDR (already done that).

2003, Graeme Pattingale


(Next: Out of the Storm & Jet Set Jewel)