Mike Brookfield, Brookfield. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Many shy away from the raw and the passionate, they see the allure but they cannot find it in themselves to feel it in their souls; perhaps fearful or troubled by what could be let loose should they delve too deep into the fire below. The raw is not to be shied away from, it is not to be excused and passed over in favour of something that has been cooked and over produced beyond its initial vision. Sometimes all it needs is its own identity and its own sense of self; it is a vision offered by Mike Brookfield in his uninhibited second album, Brookfield.

The Blues has had many a hero and heroine capture the Silver Age of the genre, its second coming, to great effect. Like Jazz and Country it was arguably dying on its feet, loved by those who still saw what it did for the human condition, what it offered in terms of escape and a truth of the times but like most art forms Blues was under threat of extinction, of holding far too hard on to its Golden period without wanting to venture forward, to expand and make good on the promise laid down; in short it was dying because it had become a relic, a dinosaur of its own making.

With the 21st Century now firmly established, it is safe to say in the hands of those who are unafraid of letting the tiger of the genre out to roam, artists such as Joanne Shaw Taylor for example, Blues is once again raw, passionate, not caged by ego or the past and as Mike Brookfield explores and runs with the eleven songs on the album, the past assuredly acknowledges fully the depth of the caress in the hands of modern day Blues.

In tracks such as the apt Beaten To Death By The Blues, Suitcase Blues, Don’t Close The Gates, Letter From The Devil and Gun Crime, Mike Brookfield paces the room and sees the tiger growl with amusement and forthright hunger; the teeth sharp, polished and used with purpose.

An album of the raw and uninhibited, Brookfield is a set of songs determined to cause trouble and win hearts.

Ian D. Hall