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Brewer and Shipley - Profile

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 16 / 9 / 2017

Brewer and Shipley - Profile


Carl Bookstein examines four late 1960's/early 1970's albums by the folk rock duo Brewer and Shipley, which have been re-released on a two disc CD set.

The soothing, natural folk rock sounds of American duo Brewer & Shipley, culled from four albums here, are highly appealing. This RetroWorld set compiles 'Weeds', 'Tarkio', 'Shake Off the Demon' and 'Rural Space', all four recorded for the Buddah Records label in the late 1960's and early 1970's. They are known for their hit single 'One Toke Over the Line', included here. This set begins with the 1969 album 'Weeds'. 'Lady Like You' starts with an easy guitar strum, into a beautiful vocal with a rollicking folk rock flavour, pulsing with its gentle momentum. “Been a long time now since I loved a lady like you.” 'Rise Up (Easy Rider)' voices wisdom for the alternative baby boom generation with its beautiful soft tones. “Riding circles around the sun/Can you learn to live with freedom?" 'Boomerang' includes a strong lyric: “Every little thing we’re putting out returns to us again.” It is followed by another fine, evocative number, 'Indian Summer': “Hold back the winter, Indian summer/I’m not sure if I can take the snow.” A light, somewhat unusual take on Dylan’s 'All Along the Watchtower' is appealing. Kicking off the 1970 album 'Tarkio', their hallmark hit 'One Toke Over the Line' starts with its familiar refrain: “One toke over the line, sweet Jesus/Sitting downtown in a railway station…” It is a classic for a reason. It is a great tune with a compelling hook, and not just a novelty number. It still holds up with time. 'Song from the Platte River' is an earthbound early country rock like folk rock tune. “They’ve got my freedom on the run,” Brewer & Shipley sing. 'The Light' possesses a sharp lyric: “For those who felt the hunger and truly longed to see/I’ll sing this song of the kingdom.” 'Can’t Go Home' is evocative, lovely and peaceful. “Singing songs I never sung before/I want to go home again.” 'Tarkio Road' is a highlight here: “If you’re looking for some trouble, you can find it on the Tarkio Road.” “Shake Off the Demon” is the title track from the 1971 third album collected here. “Watch that angel go,” is the lyric, into “Open your window and let that fresh air flow.” 'Rock Me On the Water' is great: “Your walls are burning and your towers are turning/Gonna rock me on the water/I’ll get down to the sea somehow.” Another easy flowing natural organic tune, 'When the Truth Finally Comes' is off the fourth and final album included here, 1972's 'Rural Space'. “You know there ain’t gonna be no prison walls/Everybody hand in hand.” A soul soothing Western tune is 'Crested Butte', capturing the romance of the American landscape. “I just left a place where nobody was running a race/Crested Butte/You got your feet on the ground.” The collected work here of Brewer & Shipley is solid and soothing folk rock, capturing a bit of the innocence of the early 1970s. Their music is soul calming and welcome.

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Brewer and Shipley - Profile

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