Gary Brooker: No More Fear of Flying. Gary Brooker (vocals, keyboards): other musicians. Savannah; Pilot; No More Fear of Flying; Get Up and Dance; Give Me Something to Remember You By; and five others
Chrysalis CHR 1224
Performance: elegant but empty
Gary Brooker just may be the best blues-oriented vocalist ever out of England. In his Procol Harum tenure, the contrast between his intense, impassioned singing and the formal, almost literary lyrics Keith Reid gave him to sing provided a fascinating counterpoint to the band's equally eclectic mix of Bach and Ray Charles. When Procol ran out of things to say, Brooker disappeared for a while, and No More Fear of Flying is his first effort (discounting some production work for Stiff, of all labels) in several years.
On paper it all looks good: a crack session band, a new lyricist, and a George Martin production job. But the songs are mostly dismal, the kind of portentous filler that litters Roger Daltrey's albums, and the performances by all concerned have little to recommend them beyond thorough professionalism. The one exception is Savannah, a moving wrong-side-of-the-tracks romantic melodrama that Brooker sings the very pants off of [!]. Unfortunately, one song does not an album make.