Saturday, 18 May 2013

Lend Me Some Of Your Time

I've long been a fan of Ray Brooks. As a kid in the 80s I was enchanted by his narration on cartoons like Mr Benn, King Rollo and Rupert The Bear, whilst my dad would routinely watching him playing his ace each week as the charismatic London cardsharp Robbie Box in Big Deal - a show I later got hooked on myself in the mid 90s thanks to UK Gold repeats. It's clear from that brief summary of his work alone that Brooks is a man of wide ranging talents. I've had in recent years the great pleasure of conversing with the man himself, and his son Tom, swapping emails and the like. Recently the pair sent me a CD displaying another of Ray's talents, that of singer/songwriter, a recording from vinyl of his one and only album, 1971's Lend Me Some Of Your Time.

The album came about in the late 1960s. Brooks was resting between jobs and bringing up his young daughter Emma with his wife Sadie. He'd bought James Taylor's debut album and was listening to it a good deal when he decided he'd quite like to do something similar as, he admits, a form of escape and therapy. Spurred by this he began to pen a unique and reflective album that neatly instills some of the very best qualities in late 60s/early 70s music. In turn Brooks' music is redolent of Taylor, Cat Stevens and Al Stewart. It's songs are wistfully melancholic and pleasing, dabbling in the genre of folk, and folk-psych in a manner that makes it disappointing that the album has been forgotten in the midst of time.

Brooks lyrics are earnest, playful and deep occasionally sorrowful and wintry but backed by luscious instrumentation under the watchful and assured gaze of producer Ray Cameron. His voice is angelic, clear, innocent yet occasionally gravelly with a bite that befits some of the songs. Above all it is very easy on the ear.

Alas I can't personally bring you any examples of Brooks music, but I have found a link on the Soundcloud site where someone has very kindly uploaded the title track from the album. It's a few selections down on the page if you follow this link

I'd love to find this on vinyl, complete with that lovely shot of Brooks from celebrated photographer of rock stars Gered Mankowitz. But for now, CDs are available from Ray's site itself. Do yourself a favour ;)

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