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Walker, Brett (And The Railbirds) - 1996 Brett Walker And The Railbirds

ARTIST: Walker, Brett (And The Railbirds)
ALBUM: Brett Walker And The Railbirds
LABEL: Westcoast
YEAR: 1996


LINEUP: Brett Walker - vocals, guitars * Brad Zapper - guitars, keyboards * Brian Jones - bass * Tommy 'Mugs' Cain - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Look A Little Closer * 02 Can I Stay Too Long * 03 Tell Me Why * 04 What's Still Left * 05 Down In Your Ocean * 06 Rain Dance * 07 It's A Good Thing * 08 Yesterday Has Gone * 09 Everything I Want * 10 I Could Be Wrong * 11 Take Me To The River * 12 American Dreamer

WEBLINKS: Brett Walker-Facebook Page

I've been listening to some odds and sods albums lately. Factor this 1996 effort from former Person To Person main man Brett Walker as one example. This year (2013) I'll be spending a bit of time working on 90's related articles to try and balance the content across the GD website. Walker has a presence on all the social media outlets in the current-day; he'd only wished that Facebook was around during the 90's to help his popular cause, because back in the day, it still tooks weeks and months to get the latest low-down on the man. 1994's 'Nevertheless' was a great west coast/AOR album that still managed to rise above the grunge scene. It's quite apparent to me that Sweden never quite got 'grunge', and the labels over there such as Empire, West Coast and a few others, signed up artists like Walker to fill their melodic void during this bleak timeframe. In Walker's case, the deal with West Coast was an aftermath event, as the original American label Intersound had a arranged for an album with Brett during 1995, but along the way they went out of business. So backstop deal #2 kicked in a year later.

The Songs
On this album, Walker is caught somewhere between contemporaries Mark Spiro and Danny Wilde, while keeping the whole affair to the jangly side of melodic rock and in a midwestern vein, given his Oklahoma roots. Not quite new country, but you get the drift. Lots of acoustic picking and rhythms permeate through the opening strands of 'Look A Little Closer'. There's not a lot in the way of drums I have to say. 'Can I Stay Too Long' is a light breezy ramble, whereas 'Tell Me Why' following in at #3 is an electrified but restrained burst of jangly melody with the hint of a steely edge. Then we move into the pairing of 'What's Still Left' and 'Drown In Your Ocean', both midwestern come southern rockers, the latter probably the best of the pair but only by a shade. 'Rain Dance' exudes melody like a slow southern drawl, 'It's A Good Thing' on the other hand could be latterday John Waite with a more earthy approach. Walker takes to his guitar as if born to the blues for 'Yesterday Has Gone', sort of like a raw version of Tangier. 'Everything I Want' is an album highlight for me, commercial vibe for this one, so a name like Danny Wilde is a good fit. Changing moods, 'I Could Be Wrong' shifts between sombre and thoughtful, the organ work at the end reminding me of Aussie favourites Crowded House. 'Take Me To The River' is not a remake of the Talking Heads classic, but is instead a toe-tapping acoustic rural rocker with more than a hint of a pitchfork and tractor in the background. A likeable tune for sure. 'American Dreamer' is a great way to finish. Acoustic meets electric, making for an AOR like finale.

In Summary
So yeah, not quite the same as 'Nevertheless', but still Walker and his Rainbirds did manage to travel to Europe to play gigs. Beyond this, Brett released two further solo albums: 2000's 'Lift Off' and 2006's 'Spirit Junky'. Still active, it's hoped that a new solo album is in the offing sometime..

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#1 | gdazegod on July 09 2013 23:25:05
What an unbelievable coincidence. Just as I complete this article the man goes and passes away on us! There must surely be a cosmic joker at work. RIP Brett.
#2 | Nick C on July 11 2013 12:28:19
I love this album - terrible news about BW though. Tell Me Why is probably my favourite on this album, it kind of reminds me of very early Eagles and I imagine it could fit in nicely off their first album, it has that same kind of cool slightly bitterish feel that Earlybird by the aforementioned band had.

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