Capability Brown

10-18-12        Capability Brown

Singer Anita O’Day born 1919, Chuck Berry born 1926; 10-18-80 Ultravox “Passing Strangers” 45 charts in England; 10-18-80 XTC “Towers Of London” 45 charts at No. 31 in England.

I last dedicated a blog to British 70’s band Capability Brown in May of 2003.  Since then, both albums have re-issued on CD in Japan!  That’s right, “From Scratch” made it’s CD debut!  And I have discovered a 45 that I never knew about / never heard:  “Midnight Cruiser” b/w “Silent Sounds” (Charisma UK 45 CB 207 – the version I have is “Midnight Cruiser” on both sides, a promo-only copy).  So, one more Capability Brown song to go, for me!

Before this set of musicians were Capability Brown, they were in a band called Harmony Grass – on RCA Records in England.  I believe there’s an RPM label CD of their entire recorded output, but I have yet to buy a copy.  I have one Harmony Grass 45, “I Remember” b/w “Summer Dreaming” (RCA NZ 45 60489, 1969?).

And after their two Charisma albums, “From Scratch” (Charisma UK LP CAS 1056, 1972) and “Voice” (Charisma UK LP CAS 1068, 1973), there is a “Best Of” called “Liar” (Charisma UK LP CS 5, 1976), with no ‘new’ material.  Both of their albums got released in the US (Charisma via Buddah for “From Scratch” and Passport Records for “Voice”).

For those who care, after Capability Brown…several of the musicians went to a band called Krazy Kat on Mountain Records (same label as the Sensational Alex Harvey Band!), with two albums “China Seas” (Mountain UK LP TOPC 5004, 1977) and “Troubled Air” (Mountain UK LP TOPC 5009, 1977). With no US issue for these two.

Somehow, via their connection with Buddah Records in the US (via Charisma), Capability Brown were the backing band on the Risa Potters LP “Take Me Away” (Buddah US LP BDS 5115, 1972).

Band member Kenny Rowe had a solo 45 on Charisma UK, but…I haven’t been able to track down any other of the members; not even using “Rock Record”, the mighty UK music / musician book!

I recommend Capability Brown “From Scratch” and Capability Brown “Voice” – you should be able to find at very least US pressings for no more than $3 – $5, with a little bit of looking.  British pop music of a very high order; good for fans of Queen, The Beatles etc.  Do you like 4 (or 5) part harmonies?  Look no further.

This entry was posted in 1972, 1973, England, Listening, Progressive Rock, Record Collecting, Ultimate Collection and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Capability Brown

  1. Brian Ware says:

    Well now would be as good a time as any to comment on both Capability Brown and Gracious! which I’ve now had the opportunity to enjoy. Most interesting to listen to these bands together as they have considerable similarities. Obviously their style date-stamps these bands firmly as early 70s British rock. Going down the checklist, all the essential stylistic elements are present – the above mentioned harmonies, hippy-dippy lyrics, the twin lead guitar riffing, abundant harpischord/clavinet, mellotrons, abrupt time signature changes, etc. I would have been all over these bands had I known about them back in the day. Many thanks for the opportunity to finally hear them.

    You’re probably aware that “Midnight Cruiser” is a Steely Dan cover. They do a very good job with it!

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    Capability Brown comes after Gracious; seems like they have ‘better equipment’ than Gracious. One could follow the thought that Capability Brown are in the Charisma lineage, with Lindisfarne and Genesis; Gracious in the Vertigo Records “scheme-of-things” with Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath. More great music!

  3. chas_m says:

    Have never heard of these guys, but you have said all the magic words to make me seek some out! I don’t suppose it will shock you to find out that out of 26 million songs available on iTunes, not ONE of them is from this band! I love to use iTunes to hear previews of bands that I might be interested in, I think it saves me a ton of money.

  4. IrvingProg says:

    Ah, my favourite prog group of the 70s! Many thanks for your blog. Not only do I have the hard to find “Midnight Cruiser / Silent Sounds” single but also the Japanese “Voice” CD issue from 1990. A cover version of Rare Bird’s “Sympathy” also turned up on a Charisma sampler called “An Empty Dream – Songs from a Distant Church” – Charisma CAS1101, 1975. You still see a fair few Capability Brown items on Ebay and a (slowly increasing number of tracks on YouTube.

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