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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bram Tchaikovsky - Funland

All this bullshit about the Tea Party is making me thirsty. I guess it's T Time.

Bram Tchaikovsky is the stage name of one Peter Bramall from Lincolnshire, England as well as the name of the group he fronted in the late 70s & early 80s. Peter had joined the Motors in 1977, a group headed up by songwriters Andy McMaster & Nick Garvey. Bram wanted a larger role in the overall musickal creation, so while waiting on pre-production work for the second Motors album, Tchaikovsky took the opportunity to do some recording of his own. The resulting single, "Sarah Smiles" gave him the confidence to leave the Motors & form his own band.

Bram Tchaikovsky, the band, consisted of: Bram, the man, on guitar & vocals; along with Mike Broadbent on bass & keyboards; & Keith Boyce on drums. They signed to the new Radar label in 1978 along with Stiff expatriates Nick Lowe & Elvis Costello. The band showed a great deal of promise with their first album, Strange Man Changed Man, fitting in nicely with the growing power pop movement. The unforgettable "Girl of My Dreams," a true high point of the time, became a minor hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Tchaikovsky continued on through rapid personnel changes for two more albums. Following the release of The Russians Are Coming (released in the U.S. as Pressure) in 1980, Broadbent left the band due to personal conflict with Bram. The band moved from Radar to sign with Arista. They recorded Funland in 1981.

Funland was produced by Nick Garvey & recorded at Rockfield studios in 1981 with a brand new line-up: Tchaikovsky; Denis Forbes; Lord Richard Itchingham; & Derek Ballard. These personnel changes had left the band without a suitable writing partner for Bramall or the vocal harmony that he desired. Although Funland may not be considered the bands best album, it is a very important piece in the journey of Bram Tchaikovsky. If you don't dig the vocals & guitar work on a song like "Egyptian Mummies", then you're deader than one. After Funland, the thrill was gone, & Tchaikovsky decided to dissolve the band & retire from the music business.

Bram Tchaikovsky sings lead vocals, plays lead guitar on tracks 6 & 7; all guitars on tracks 3 & 8; bass & rhythm guitar on track 2, 6, & 8; & sings backing vocals on all tracks but track 5;
Denis Forbes plays lead guitar on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 11 & 12; acoustic guitar on tracks 7 & 9; & slide guitar on track 9; & sings backing vocals on tracks 4 & 5;
Lord Richard Itchington plays bass on all but tracks 2, 6, & 8;
Derek Ballard plays drums on all tracks;
Bernie Clarke plays keyboard on tracks 1, 2, 7, 9, & 12;
Lew Soloff plays trumpet solo on track 6;
Nick Garvey plays piano & acoustic guitar on track 8 & adds additional backing vocals on tracks 4, 5, & 8;
additional backing vocals by Andy McMaster on track 4:
& additional percussion by Jimmy Maelen

Year of Release: 1981
Label: Arista Records AB 4292
Genre: Power pop

Side One -
Stand & Deliver
Shall We Dance
Heart of Stone
Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache
Model Girl
Side Two -
Why Does My Mother ‘phone Me
Used to Be My Used to Be
Soul Surrender
Together My Love
Miracle Cure
Egyptian Mummies

Download: Bram Tchaikovsky - Funland
Download Size: 84.6MB (ripped from vinyl at 320Kbps)


Jim T. said...

Definitely loved the lush pop of BT when Strange Man, Changed Man came out, glad you revived this here.

display said...

Thanks NØ.

Emir from Newcastle, Australia said...

I think this is a great album and more or less seems to follow the natural progression for his style.

One thing I have noticed reading reviews internet-wide from various sources is the common, but kinda of lame, common trait of most "fans" only liking the first album "Stange man, Changed Man", usually citing the other albums as "Crap"

Anyway, all this reveals the reviewers overly simplistic analytical skills that are rather superficial - basically the attitude of people who listen to music but can't play it (i.e. non-musicians)

This musician begs to differ regarding the second and third albums and to be honest, I think his best work is on the second album, with really evolutionary improvements in production, songwriting and lyrical content (take "Mister President" for instance, a song about a cocaine abusing president that all these years later still evokes images of that guy who got a blowjob from Monica and although he never abused cocaine or inhaled, his brother did!, or the mention of "Uncle Jimmy" - a direct reference to the President of the USA at the time, Jimmy Carter in "The Russian are Coming".)

It's a shame that Bram retired and faded away. I will always have a special place for this guy as when I fist picked up a guitar over 2 decades ago before I was in high school, I cut my teeth, metaphotically speaking, learning songs from all his 3 albums. I loved his riffs almost as much as I did the riffs I was copying from my Black Sabbath collection at the time. His riffy style, actually is very reminiscent of Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, the ultimate riff master and voted Heavy Metal guitarist of the century by Guitar World magazine back in 03 or 04 and unlike most regualr pop songwriters who use the same riff with a chorus for their top40 crap, Bram, like Iommi wrote more complex songs using multiple riffs. I really have 2 guitar heros etched into my heart and soul...Iomii and Tchaikovsky (Brammall)