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Capability Brown

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From the Book “Seeker’s Guide” By Shiloh Noone, shiloh@telkomsa.net
ISBN 0-620-32018-4

Capability Brown
Sextet Capability Brown were quintessentially multi-instrumentalists that could whip up CSN harmonies with the slightest of ease. The first watering was when ex Moments bassist Kenny Rowe, bassist /vocalist Tony Ferguson and percussionist Joe Williams from Tony Rivers’ folky Harmony Grass joined ex Gremlins Roger Willis and ex Fuzzy Duck guitarist/lute/balalaika player Grahame White to form Capability Brown. Under the Charisma umbrella the group launched their first single “War” in 1971 followed by the 1972 debut album From Scratch. The entirety of the album was a blend of art rock projection with a shimmer of Prog tracing on tracks like “Rayge” and the concept “Sole Survivor”, song about escaping the holocaust in a time machine. From Scratch had a lot of power as in the bass thundering “No Range” with Ferguson playing some sizzling flute coupled with Climax Blues styled harmonies. Atmospheric renditions of Rare Bird’s “Beautiful Scarlet” and “Red Man” plus a severing version of Argent’s “Liar” (Russ Ballard) / “Keep Death Off The Road” with White slicing emphatically was superb in the making. (later covered by Three Dog Night) These cats were harmony kings that could fuse folk with rock in the same spaces as Gentle Giant or Hookfoot. By 1973 Capability launched Voice which opened up with Affinity’s “I Am And So Are You” written by another Charisma student Alan Hull from Lindisfarne. This album holds their greatest number “Sad Am I” with a definite nod to Marmalade, Stealers Wheel or Iveys.

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