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Nelson Bragg - We Get What We Want

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 27 / 6 / 2012

Nelson Bragg - We Get What We Want
Label: Nelson Bragg
Format: CD


Exuberant power pop on second solo album from Brian Wilson and Beach Boys percussionist and drummer, Nelson Bragg

'We Get What We Want' is Nelson Bragg’s second solo album, and follows on neatly from where his 2007 debut, 'Day into Night', left off. First track 'You Could Believe' opens with an energetic burst of vocal harmony and quickly settles into Nelson’s familiar brand of exuberant power pop. The track is superbly arranged, and Nelson’s vocals are powerful and confident. It’s the perfect start to the album, creating a celebratory mood reminiscent of the Gigolo Aunts. The album continues with the incredible 'What She’s Done to Him', a Monkees-style pop march featuring Nelson’s Brian Wilson band-mates Probyn Gregory and Nick Walusko. Gregory is a one-man brass quartet, playing an emphatic arrangement on trumpet, French horn, flugel horn and baritone horn while Nick Walusko’s electric guitar-work is, as one would expect, faultless. This is a song of rare quality, at once a perfect slice of pop and a “respectable” rock track. One of the more intriguing songs on the album is Nelson’s cover of Brian Wilson’s 'Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long'. In a recent interview with Pennyblack, Nelson said that Wilson had yet to hear the track but that perhaps it would serve as a 70th birthday gift from Nelson to his sometime boss in June. Nelson’s version of the song is simply gorgeous. He manages to squeeze every drop of emotion out of Wilson’s original while putting his own truly unique stamp on it. The mark of a good cover is giving the listener something that they didn’t get from the original, and Nelson’s version of 'Baby…' delivers in spades. Another highlight of the album is 'She Used to Love Me', a psychedelic-tinged, country-flavoured song with a fantastic meandering slide guitar line and yet another top-notch vocal from Nelson. The album closes with the folky #Everything I Want to Be#. Yet again, the song features a great backing track, this time including harpsichord, alto and tenor recorders and a cello. This arrangement is typical of the remainder of the album – like Brian Wilson, Nelson seems to have an innate grasp of just what instruments each track needs. The cliché goes that one’s second album is always the difficult one. If that is true, then Nelson Bragg has sidestepped this particular problem with style and delivered an album which is a real treasure. Vocally he sounds superb and the arrangements and production throughout the album are just perfect. The growth that Nelson has shown as an artist since his, admittedly excellent, 2007 debut is staggering. This summer, Nelson is touring with the Beach Boys, but hopefully when their fiftieth anniversary tour is over, Nelson will take this album on the road. I for one can’t wait to hear how it translates to a live performance. In the meantime, though, I’m more than happy with the album. In fact, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to listen to it again!

Track Listing:-
1 You Could Believe
2 What She's Done to Him
3 Trying Hard to Please You
4 Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long
5 Steel Derrick 1979
6 Let the Cruel World Go
7 She Used to Love Me
8 I'm in No Mood
9 Welcome to Nowhereville
10 Tyme and Tyde Agree
11 Everything I Want to Be

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Interview (2012)
Nelson Bragg - Interview
Andy Cassidy speaks to Brian Wilson percussionist and Los Angeles-based musician Nelson Bragg about his long musical career, and just released second solo album,‘We Get What We Want’

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Day Into Night (2008)
Perfect upbeat pop on solo debut album from Nelson Bragg, who, as well as playing in several other bands simultaneously, has been Brian Wilson's percussionist for several years

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