Exposé Online banner

Brian Woodbury & His Popular Music Group — Pay Attention
(Some Phil 9, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-10-03

Pay Attention Cover art

It’s one thing to have that exceptional ability to fuse humor and witty lyrics to great music – Zappa, 10cc, Ray Stevens, Weird Al (though rightly, Yankovic’s material would more correctly be classified as parody) and many others come to mind in the field of those who have done it successfully with repeatability over the years, but it’s all together something else to be able to do it while genre hopping all over the musical map with highly original material. Woodbury’s abilities first came to my attention with the 2004 reissue of his 1988s release All White People Look Alike, which I believe was his debut album under his own name, and even at that early stage there was a lot more substance than promise to his songwriting abilities. Now, 27 years and a half dozen albums on, Woodbury’s masterful songwriting and brilliant arrangements have resulted in Pay Attention, what may well be his best work to date. There’s a lot here we could talk about, like “The Real World” where Woodbury takes down every conspiracy theory with spirited country backing, or “Every Lousy Band,” where the refrain “When every lousy band in the world disappears, that will be music to my ears” is something we all may have thought at some point, but never had the courage to sing about. And then there’s “Brother Can You Spare a Diamond Ring,” and a lot more, but I don’t wanna spoil the fun of discovery. Eighteen tunes in all, you can listen to them all on his site and follow along with the lyrics. Although Woodbury can play just about any instrument one can think of (here he’s credited with vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, keyboards, harmonium, ukulele, and more, track depending), for this endeavor (His Popular Music Group) he has assembled a who’s-who of session players including drummer Andy Sanesi, Marc Muller (electric guitar and bass, track depending), bassist Dan Lutz, and many others too numerous to list here, including some rapping and sax from our friend Johnny Unicorn, whose work we have covered may times in these pages. So there you have it: it’s quirky, witty, artful and sometimes poignant, covering the pop and country spectrum. No words I can spill here will faithfully and accurately describe what Woodbury has done, so best go to his site and check it out for yourself.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Johnny Unicorn, Brian Woodbury

More info
http://brianwoodbury.bandcamp.com/album/pay-attention

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

José Cid - 10,000 Anos Depois entre Vénus e Marte – The number of Portuguese progressive rock albums is a mighty small one, and despite the occasional rarity, this album and those by the great Tantra are practically the only to have surfaced from this...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues