Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Beau Brummels - Triangle (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1967)

28 April 2009

The Beau Brummels - Triangle (PSYCHEDELIC FOLK-ROCK US 1967)


"The Beau Brummels" were "Sal Valentino" (lead vocals), "Ron Meagher" (bass guitar), "John Peterson" (drums), "Ron Elliott" (lead guitar), and "Declan Mulligan" (rhythm guitar, bass guitar, harmonica).
The name "Beau Brummels" is picked as it sounded British; however, the band themselves are not from England.
They were from San Francisco except "Declan Mulligan", who was from Ireland.
Starting in 1964, on the tiny "Autumn Records" label, "The Beau Brummels" had two Top Ten radio charters, "Laugh, Laugh" (/ "Still In Love With You Baby", Autumn Records 8, 1964) and "Just A Little" (/ "They'll Make You Cry", Autumn Records 10, 1965).
It was an era when small labels could have big hits, though they usually had to cut distribution deals with bigger labels.
"Autumn Records" was begun and started by San Francisco DJ "Tom Donahue" and featured the production talents of an up-and-comer named "Sylvester Stewart" (later to become "Sly Stone" of "Sly and The Family Stone" fame).
When Triangle (Warner Bros Records W 1692, 1967) appeared in 1967, "The Beau Brummels" were on the down slope of their hit-making history.
The original quintet was now down to three ("Ron Elliott", "Ron Meagher", and "Sal Valentino") hence, the 'triangular' title.
Triangle was not only a major departure for the band, it was a major departure for the times.

Beau_brummels,Triangle,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,LAUGH_LAUGH,SAL_VALENTINO,RON_ELLIOTT,1964Beau Brummels in 1964: top to bottom: John Petersen, Sal Valentino, Ron Meagher and Ron Elliott

At once mystical and playful, Triangle was one of those albums that seemingly appear out of nowhere, delight and confound the critics, are largely ignored by the public.
And, give credit to ace producer "Lenny Waronker", producer of such "Warner Bros / Reprise" acts as "Neil Young" and "Joni Mitchell", for the smarts to let "The Beau Brummels" follow their muse down an exciting, if not so commercial, path.

Beau_brummels,Triangle,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,LAUGH_LAUGH,SAL_VALENTINO,RON_ELLIOTT,rehearsalNine of the eleven cuts on Triangle were written by "Ron Elliott", with lyrical help from "Sal Valentino" and "Bob Durand".
The other two songs are well-chosen covers, "Randy Newman"'s "Old Kentucky Home" and "Merle Travis"' "Nine Pound Hammer".
The two covers fit seamlessly with the originals. The instrumentation and vocal layering is so perfectly, fully rendered, the eleven songs form, without overt design, a unified whole. It is a Pop / Folk-Rock symphony without pretension or genuflection.

When "The Beau Brummels" released Triangle in 1967, it had been only two-and-a-half years or so since they had become the first American band to successfully emulate and counterattack the British Invasion with their hit single "Laugh, Laugh".
Since then their sound had matured enormously, yet as a band they were struggling for survival.

Beau_brummels,Triangle,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,LAUGH_LAUGH,SAL_VALENTINO,RON_ELLIOTT,triangle_sessionsTriangle session: Ron Elliott, Ron Meagher and Sal Valentino in studio.

They were by this time essentially a studio group, as "Ron Elliott"'s diabetes made it difficult to tour.
On a more positive note, "Warner Bros" was at this point starting to move in more progressive and artist-friendly directions, under the influence of executives such as "Mo Ostin", "Joe Smith", and "Lenny Waronker".
It was "Lenny Waronker" who would produce Triangle, giving them the freedom to create their first album that was consciously molded as a coherent start-to-finish listening experience.

Beau_brummels,Triangle,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,LAUGH_LAUGH,SAL_VALENTINO,RON_ELLIOTT,don_irving,rickenbacker_330Don Irving plays Rickenbacker 330

The lyrics on Triangle were far more abstract, evoking hazy vibes and peopled with dream-like characters.
There was the gypsy in "Only Dreaming Now", "Painter Of Women", "The Keeper Of Time", and "The Wolf Of Velvet Fortune", as well the fantasy-fiction-like destination of "Ron Elliott"'s favorite piece on the record, "Magic Hollow".
For the first time, "Ron Elliott" and "Sal Valentino" wrote quite a bit of the material together, though a few of the songs were written by "Ron Elliott" and his occasional songwriting collaborator "Bob Durand".
Released in an extraordinarily competitive year that saw many fine albums expanding the boundaries of Rock music, Triangle's impact was light, slipping into the bottom of the Top 200 and peaking at #197.


miles said...

a lovely recording. thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks VERY Much!! This is new to me, can't wait to hear it.

Anonymous said...

thank you, julia hayes.