Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews: Bruford – Rock Goes To College (2020 Cherry Red Records)

Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Bruford – Rock Goes To College (2020 Cherry Red Records)

By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Parler or Twitter @GBrown0816

Finally, and with Mr. Bruford’s overseeing and full approval, long-time followers like myself are offered an ‘official’ release of the band’s appearance of; Bruford – Rock Goes To College (1979 BBC Recording). So throw away the bootlegs, and those recordings found in the trade circles, here is the real McCoy. Why it took all these years, I don’t know, and nor is it my business. Honestly, I have had a copy of this particular BBC show on cassette and then upgraded to DVDr, for over 20 years now. The title was a popular one in the Yes and YesRelated trading circles.  

Truly, Cherry Red Records CD/DVD release of Bruford – Rock Goes To College, is in my opinion, one of the better things to come out, archival-wise, during this pandemic. Because of their foresight, what was a heavely bootleged TV show appearence, is now a legal high quality sounding audio and visual experience. Visually I get to lust after Annette Peacock, and also see for myself, just how these guys played this pretty cool, at times toe-tapping, jazz-rock music. Win-Win for ME!  

I started doing music trades, way back when. In the days of 8-Tracks, cassettes, and CDr’s. One of my favorite rock n’ roll groups was, Yes. When it came to trading music, I was mostly seeking Yes and what I called YesRelated (the two words together like that) material. Not the studio albums or official live releases, but instead promo radio interviews, and live concert performances that were aired on the radio, or on Tv. Was broadcast, but not released publicly. People recorded using various forms of technology. The audio/visual or both, was sold, or freely traded. I partisiparted from the 1970s up till around 2015. Off and on during the decades.

The overseas trades were more fascinating for me. Such as BBC programs, because of being located in the continental United States, I really had no previous access to that. I would label all this; collector stuff. Nothing that ever in my mind, stole money from any musician(s), record companies, or anyone else. Which kind of brings me back to my beginning paragraph, and also a personal rule that I followed, being a music trader for as long as I have been. If I had something in my collection that was released officially after me having whatever it was, for whatever amount of time, in my collection, that I would purchase said item if released commercially. It’s honorable and I know others that do the same thing (if affordable). Then, I started doing music reviews professionally, and people started giving me free products (such as this one), in hopes that I would do a positive write up. Words that gave the reader a warm kind of fuzzy feeling after reading whatever it was that I wrote/typed so that they would take action and buy, hopefully immediately for, after all, I do provide working web-links to whatever said product that I had devoted the column about. Usually…works every time for them. No promise from me. Frankly, I am still getting requests. Flattering, and nice of whoever to think that my opinion, matters. As I get older, I tend to be pickier about who or what I write about. I learned that when I don’t like something, that it might be best for all involved, including myself, to skip it. When hearing that this particular Bruford show was getting the treatment, I jumped right on the reviewer’s wagon.   

So who makes up the band Bruford, you ask?

Bill Bruford – drums, percussion / Allan Holdsworth – electric guitar / Dave Stewart – keyboards / Jeff Berlin – bass. Plus band guest artist; Annette Peacock – lead vocals. She appeared on Bill’s first solo record; Bill Bruford – Feels Good To Me (1978). By all appearances, a lovely lady. Her vocals remind me some of, Sydney Foxx (Sydney Jordan). Another female lead singer from the U.K. who played with another original Yes member; Peter Banks. Syd was married to the now-departed Mr. Banks, and they also had a band together; Empire. On my archival website, there is mention of them. But back to Annette, she is the band Bruford’s special guest and lead vocalist for the evening. Appears on two of the eight compositions played. A marvelous voice of many ranges, the lady as we go ahead in time, maintained a successful singing career. Easy to hear why; tracks six and seven with an introduction from Bill Bruford.     

Each male member of Bruford, highly skilled at what they do. This BBC show is one of their first live gigs together. Not a bad thing, for the concert, went as smooth as silk. Must have because here we are over four decades later, still talking about it.  Minus the two tracks that contain singing, the other six numbers being instrumentals, demostrate the ability each player has. Together…they do at times really ROCK.

The Music – Track Listing

01. SAMPLE AND HOLD

02. BEELZEBUB

03. THE SAHARA OF SNOW (PART ONE)

04. THE SAHARA OF SNOW (PART TWO)

05. FOREVER UNTIL SUNDAY

06. BACK TO THE BEGINNING

07. ADIOS A LA PASADA (GOODBYE TO THE PAST)

08. 5G

The Brass Tackes

Starts off kind of abruptly. Imagine if you will, that you’re at home watching the telly (not a guy in his briefs) in which the music program, Rock Goes To College, starts. BIG hint; telly was Brit slang for television. Now the word television, is how we get the abbreviation; Tv. Anyhow, you see the visual, and hear the sounds of what you are now seeing, fade in. Personally, I would have rather had a proper opening of the tune, Sample And Hold. It’s Bill’s drums that begin the number. Spoiler! That’s about the only gripe I have about the whole offering. A title that was worth having a bootleg of, so of course, worthy of whatever trade was involved, especially when it came to THIS collector. Now, thanks to all involved, I can now just recommend that you (the reader) just buy it, legally for the first time. Not only the audio but now on DVD, you can see how sexually attractive or nice looking for those who take offense, Annette Peacock is. And like I previously said, the guys playing the music, for there they are in living color. Professionally filmed, and about the best visuals, you’ll get of these four, together as one; Bruford – in concert. Recorded on March 17, 1979.  

The audio is amazing. You can distinctively hear each player, in the quiter passages, and when jelled together with as a group.. This would include the new bass player for Brand X, taking over for Percy Jones. A man who took over for Tony Levin, when he took ill while doing shows with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, & Howe. That would be, Jeff Berlin. On this Cherry Red Records release, you can hear Jeff play the bass. He’s not turned down in the mix or missing in action…drowned out, because the drums and for that fact, everything else, were just too loud. A mis-placement of microphones? This broadcast is pretty much flawless. Jeff’s playing here in many instances bleed such a cool jazz vibe. Bill’s playing is flawless. Can’t ask for a better rhythm section. 

With Bill Bruford, on this BBC recording, the sound is so amazing that with a decent pair of headphones on, you hear every sound he makes, even the quieter moments; cymbals, high-hats, wooden instruments, and any breaking of wind that he did while on stage. Minus the the fart joke, its yet another example of how this CD/DVD official release of Bruford – Rock Goes To College is audio worth having. And just so we are all on the same page; not the sounds of Mr. Bruford or anyone else for that fact, passing gas. For that, back in the year 1979, one would need to be into another BBC classic Tv programe; Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Or was it Benny Hill who did fart jokes?  

Rest In Peace: Guitarist, Allan Holdsworth (1946 – 2017). An amazing musician. I believe I first heard Allan, on the debut album of a band Bill Bruford was also in called, U.K..That album came out before I was aware of any Bill Bruford solo music. I played the shit out of it back then, and keep it in a regular rotation, even today. Allan’s playing on Bruford – Goes To College, has been and will be studied, for years to come. The man gives a sweet performance. Allan left us, listeners, a catalog of music that is worth seeking out, if yet undiscovered. 

I love the keyboards, so Dave Stewart’s playing simply impresses me to no end. One of my favorite tracks that he plays on with Bruford is on the album the band is really touring/promoting: Bruford – Feels Good To Me (1979). Annette Peacock, you remember her…wasn’t on that one but instead Bill Bruford’s first solo album: Bill Bruford – Feels Good To Me (1978). The songs played on Rock Goes To College by Bruford are a mix of the two. The title of the composition that I like the most: 

“The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 1” – “The Sahara of Snow, Pt. 2”  

Just so I am clear on the subject. Like the Genesis classic, Home By The Sea, it contains more than one composition, as a whole. It’s a ghost story presented in two different parts. One of my favorite Genesis songs. And speaking of, the legendary group Genesis, they are planning on touring and has started rehearsals just recently for a 2021 World Tour. I hope I am able to attend if and when the guys hit Las Vegas (NV USA). That would make for a cool edition of; Uncle G’s FUN Concert Reviews. As a writer, I try to plan ahead. We, meaning the City of Las Vegas, has a brand new domed stadium. Build for the football team; The Raiders. I drove past Allegiant Stadium a few days ago. Its stunning to look at. I could see a band like Genesis playing there. 

I had the honor of seeing Bill Bruford play live in concert, three times. Not on his own. I did collect music-wise, whatever I could with his name on it. Seriously, I liked Bill’s drum work so much, and the music he typically involved himself with, that I would buy whatever it was that came out with his name on it, sight unseen. Those were the days when I had money. I always tried to support financially whatever entertainment act I liked; buy their merchandise, new releases, etc…Bill’s total departure from rock and how as he aged and became an even better player, submerged himself in more traditional jazz. I’m really an old rocker now. Yet, many times, not being a real JazzHead, I went along for the ride. All i knew was that Bill was involved, and that was good enough for me. You know, I was never really disappointed as a consumer. In the big picture, I just liked ‘rock music’ better. Bands such as…King Crimson.

FYI: The group, Bruford, is typically labeled; Jazz-fusion. From the 1970s. Jazz combined with rock, funk, and rhythm and blues.

Bill’s first real ‘song writing endevor’ or so it states on the Internet, was a somewhat short instrumental, recorded in 1972, that could be found on Yes – Fragile; Five Percent Of Nothing. I always dug it. Mr. Bruford did five studio albums with, Yes. Labeled by some of the rock critics back then; art-rock. In my opinion, all of those early Yes records are must haves in the collection if seriously into this specific style of rock music.

Uncle GRATESBrufordRock Goes To College (2020 Cherry Red Records)

Using a five-star rating system whereas one star means you can also use the discs as frisbee’s. Granted they won’t play again, in which is the point. Please be careful around the tots. The surpreme rating of course being five stars, which means its cool to disperse some of that disposable cash you have been saving up, and make it a part of your own personal collection, “Uncle G” rates the 2020 first ever legal version of, Bruford – Rock Goes To College (CD/DVD Edition)…4.75 stars! Remember how I mentioned that the intro fades in…munus .25 stars, and there you have it. In a years time I’ll give it multipal plays. If I look at my collection and see something I have not played for two years, taking up valuable space; bye-bye. I play all I have of Bill’s from my vast music collection, routinely. I even nailed down some high quality ‘Genesis’ boots that included Bill (live performances). Again…back in my trading days. This story sounds all too familiar.

BrufordRock Goes To College CD/DVD Editionhttps://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/bruford-rock-goes-to-college-cd-dvd-edition/

Promotion: Glass Onyon PR (William James) – www.glassonyonpr.com

Bonus – from the Gary “Uncle G” Brown Classis Rock Ticket Stub Collection

ABWH – 28 Aug 1989 – The Summit – Houston Texas (USA)

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