Monday, 9 July 2018
Williams Fairey Brass Band - Acid Brass (1997)
Deller eventually found a brass band that were game for the challenge in Stockport's Williams Fairey Brass Band, formed in 1937 (I'm guessing this isn't the original lineup on Acid Brass). Arranging Deller's chosen tracks was composer/arranger Rodney Newton, who also gets an interesting liner note about the challenges of the material, for instance, getting a group of brass band blokes to chant 'voodoo ray' in "low, guttural voices". A live performance in Liverpool followed, seemingly well received by an audience of all ages. A limited edition recording of the concert, also titled Acid Brass, was followed by this studio album.
So what does it sound like? Well, to be honest, mostly like a cod-Mission Impossible/Austin Powers film score (What Time Is Love made me laugh out loud), but no less entertaining for that. Newton does capture well the main themes and the tension-and-release of the originals, and purely from a melodic standpoint, A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray and 808 State's Pacific 202 sound lovely, proving their durability as highly original pieces of dance music. The success of the arrangements can vary - I do like the tuned percussion (glock? marimba?) on those two tracks, and on Nitro Deluxe's Let's Get Brutal. Derrick May's Strings Of Life doesn't translate quite as well, with its immortal string stabs rather weakly rendered - if anything, a testament to what a stunning work of genius the original was and still is. Regardless, Acid Brass is a fun listen, especially in the summer sunshine.