Willoughby's Lament (Lp)
Label: Tompkins Square
"In the end Willoughby’s Lament is distinguished by sharper execution, both instrumentally and vocally, of more assured songs with greater overall heft the result; the growth is quickly discernible in the expertly rendered dynamic shifts of opener If I’d Live Alone and the chamber classical-inclined resonances of Interlude.
Fleeting moments on The Wall I Built Myself could underscore Bob Brown as ambitiously striving to stand apart from an army of sensitive strummers with back pocket notebooks full of lyrics, but there’s not an inkling of straining in Baby Child’s range. It also spreads out on an LP tending toward the concise; that’s the case with Of Breath and Skin, Brown singing with palpable comfort amongst a weave of exquisite playing, and the even briefer instrumental Willoughby’s Lament (Part I).
The backing vocals of Greene and Havens and the rollicking drums of Windsor instill In these Flames with early ’70s folk-pop flair landing on Brown’s sole single. Kindly Leave My Heart served as the A-side, and courtesy of Bill Keith’s pedal steel it commences the flip of Willoughby’s Lament in a country frame of mind.
Death in Dreams slims down to just piano and Brown’s Young-like voice, For Pamela evinces a rise in emotional weight without getting strung out in the process, and Light of Children Come offers an appealing jazziness thanks obviously to Gomez but additionally to Clark’s keys. That leaves Willoughby’s Lament (Part II) to culminate the stronger of Brown’s two LPs.
Post-Stormy Forest, Brown moved into NYC’s Chelsea Hotel and cut four albums worth of stuff, but with the exception of Close of the Day on Numero Group’s Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes comp, none of it has been released. Today he’s a bigwig in the hospitality industry; not an especially fascinating denouement perhaps, but in 2016 it frankly beats another tragic ending. 45 years later people are still interested in The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament, a reality that should provide Bob Brown with a fair amount of satisfaction" (The Vinyl District)
Cat. number: TSQ 5142