I first heard Brian Protheroe in approx. 1976, when first working in a record store. Part of the job in those days was to try and hear anything / everything that was “new”. Initially, “I/You” looked interesting merely because it was on Chrysalis Records. Then we played it!
LP PINBALL CHRYSALIS UK CHR 1065 1974 13 TRKS
CD PINBALL BASTA NL 30-9047.2 1974 13 TRKS (’96 issue)
7″ PINBALL / MONEY LOVE CHRYSALIS UK CHS 2043 1974 2 TRKS no pic sleeve
LP PICK-UP CHRYSALIS US CHR 1090 1975 11 TRKS
CD PICK-UP BASTA NL 30-9046.2 1975 11 TRKS (’96 issue)
LP I/YOU CHRYSALIS US CHR 1108 1976 10 TRKS
CD I/YOU BASTA NL 30-9045.2 1976 10 TRKS (’96 issue)
LP LEAVE HIM TO HEAVEN (O.C.) CHRYSALIS UK CHR 1118 1976 20 TRKS
CD UNRELEASED BASTA NL 30-9055.2 1996 10 TRK Collection
If you are familiar with Brian Protheroe’s work, you already know what I’m talking about. If not, I will suggest trying to find his 3 x original US Chrysalis LP’s in a bargain bin somewhere near you. None of the Chrysalis LP’s should cost more than $3. The above listed records / CD’s are nearly everything he ever had released – I am missing 2 more Chrysalis UK 7” 45’s.
“I / You” truly has the sound of state-of-the-art 1976 England – reminds me now a bit of 10cc, but with less of a Manchester accent. Protheroe was / is a stage actor in England – a singing, superlative songwriting one. This explains his Original Cast LP, “Leave Him To Heaven” – the only one of his original releases to not make it to CD. Thankfully, it is the weakest of his original releases, so no loss there.
I recently found a UK 7” of “Pinball” – I knew that it existed, but had never seen a copy before (Yes, the B-side is on the “Pinball” LP, too). Playing the 45 at my GF’s place last weekend – it really sounded to me like The Beatles! But, of course, I know it is Protheroe’s singing and songwriting excellence. It sounded like The Beatles because of where & how it was recorded in London, circa 1973 / 4. I believe Protheroe tried to use the same musicians, whenever possible.
About the only other artist I can like to Brian Protheroe is Ian Anderson, from Jethro Tull. Anderson appears on the “I / You” LP, likely because both he and Protheroe were signed to the same record company.
Happily, Basta Records in Holland re-issued his albums on CD in 1996! No bonus tracks, but there was some great enlightenment from Mr. Protheroe himself in the form of “new” liner notes for each release – and an entire disc of previously “Unreleased” (1996) songs – including demos he wrote for Soho (remember “Hippy Chick”?).
So, Brian Protheroe is a one-off who had 3.5 original LP’s released in the 1970’s. He’s got a great voice, and his records have the sound of expensive London recording studios and well-paid musicians. Definitely not hard to listen to!