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Crazy Mixed-Up Kid: The Complete Pye/Piccadilly Recordings

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Joe Brown 10/11/2011

Review

There were extensive compilations of Joe Brown's early output prior to this release, but this three-CD, 82-track box is certainly the biggest one likely to be produced. Everything he released on the Pye and Piccadilly labels between 1961 and 1967 is here, including not only everything from his singles, EPs, and LPs, but also the entirety of the obscure 1964 soundtrack album What a Crazy World (on which Brown sang or co-sang the majority, but not all, of the numbers). As with any such retrospective of an artist whose output was uneven and whose significance wasn't monumental, such completeness of packaging is a mixed blessing. Brown was at his best when he leaned toward a mild country-rockabilly-influenced rock & roll sound, and on the best tracks -- "A Picture of You," "Your Tender Look," "Sally Ann," "Everybody Calls Me Joe," "You Can't Lie to a Liar" -- you can hear why he was admired by early-'60s British rock & roll fans and musicians, including George Harrison (who sang on a couple of Brown covers the Beatles played live in the early '60s, "A Picture of You" and "What a Crazy World We're Living In"). The problem is, you also get an abundance -- some would say an excess -- of vaudevillian tunes playing up Brown's Cockneyism, at times sounding like a somewhat more rock-oriented take on the most music hall-ish side of Lonnie Donegan's repertoire. There are also quite a few slight early-'60s pop/rock songs and ballads, along with standards and instrumentals (and even a faithful 1967 cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends," which made the British Top 40) that testified to his versatility, but often don't make for very satisfying listening. The music hall-like cuts in particular won't translate well to the relatively few American listeners likely to seek out Brown reissues (and it's virtually impossible to imagine how the Beatles would have performed "What a Crazy World We're Living In" on-stage), though "I'm Henery the Eighth I Am" at least demonstrates that Herman's Hermits weren't the first British rockers to come up with the idea of updating that song. The What a Crazy World soundtrack material is only of interest to rabid completists, being far more oriented toward dippy theatrical musical fare than rock & roll, and it should be noted that Brown doesn't even sing on a few of those tracks. If you want to get even pickier, if this box were to be a truly complete survey of Brown's early output, it should have licensed the six tracks he issued on three 1959-1960 Decca singles, as a prior anthology (Sequel's two-CD The Joe Brown Story) did. A much more selective and shorter Brown anthology, then, is advised for listeners who want to focus on only the most noteworthy records he cut. For those who want to immerse themselves in virtually all of Brown's early material, however, it's well-packaged, with detailed historical liner notes. ~ Richie Unterberger
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Shine Joe Brown 1:57
  3. 2 The Switch Joe Brown 2:2
  4. 3 Crazy Mixed-Up Kid Joe Brown 1:59
  5. 4 Stick Around Joe Brown 2:22
  6. 5 I'm Henry the Eighth I Am Joe Brown 1:55
  7. 6 Good Luck and Goodbye Joe Brown 2:22
  8. 7 What a Crazy World We're Livin' In Joe Brown 2:42
  9. 8 Popcorn Joe Brown 2:12
  10. 9 A Picture of You Joe Brown 2:19
  11. 10 A Layabout's Lament Joe Brown 2:25
  12. 11 Lonely Island Pearl Joe Brown 1:58
  13. 12 Talking Guitar Joe Brown 1:52
  14. 13 The Surrey with the Fringe on Top Joe Brown 2:26
  15. 14 English Country Garden Joe Brown 1:1
  16. 15 Put On a Happy Face Joe Brown 1:37
  17. 16 Your Tender Look Joe Brown 2:10
  18. 17 The Other Side of Town Joe Brown 2:20
  19. 18 It Only Took a Minute Joe Brown 1:55
  20. 19 All Things Bright and Beautiful Joe Brown 1:51
  21. 20 That's What Love Will Do Joe Brown 2:23
  22. 21 Hava Nagila (The Hora) Joe Brown 2:6
  23. 22 What's the Name of the Game Joe Brown 2:32
  24. 23 Let Her Go Joe Brown 2:0
  25. 24 Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone Joe Brown 2:26
  26. 25 Whistle My Love Joe Brown 2:12
  27. 26 Nature's Time For Love Joe Brown 2:2
  28. 27 The Spanish Bit Joe Brown 2:6
  29. 28 Sally Ann Joe Brown 1:54
  30. 29 There's Only One of You Joe Brown 2:32
  31. 1 Little Ukelele Joe Brown 2:40
  32. 2 Hercules Unchained Joe Brown 1:33
  33. 3 Moonglow Joe Brown 1:1
  34. 4 Walkin' Tall Joe Brown 2:27
  35. 5 St. Louis Blues Joe Brown 2:30
  36. 6 The Holly and the Ivy Joe Brown 1:20
  37. 7 Silent Night Joe Brown 2:10
  38. 8 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Joe Brown 2:4
  39. 9 You Do Things to Me Joe Brown 2:33
  40. 10 Everybody Calls Me Joe Joe Brown 2:40
  41. 11 Don't Joe Brown 2:4
  42. 12 Just Like That Joe Brown 2:16
  43. 13 Teardrops in the Rain Joe Brown 2:12
  44. 14 Lonely Circus Joe Brown 2:37
  45. 15 Sicilian Tarantella Joe Brown 1:50
  46. 16 Thinkin' That I Love You Joe Brown 2:35
  47. 17 Charlie Girl Joe Brown 2:14
  48. 18 My Favourite Occupation Joe Brown 2:36
  49. 19 Sea of Heartbreak Joe Brown 2:45
  50. 20 Mrs. O's Theme Joe Brown 2:6
  51. 21 A Little Ray of Sunshine Joe Brown 2:59
  52. 22 Your Loving Touch Joe Brown 2:14
  53. 23 A Satisfied Mind Joe Brown 2:53
  54. 24 Stay a Little While Joe Brown 2:46
  55. 25 Th' Wife Joe Brown 2:22
  56. 26 The Rich Man's Son and the Poor Man's Daughter Joe Brown 2:22
  57. 27 With a Little Help From My Friends Joe Brown 2:32
  58. 28 Show Me Around Joe Brown 1:55
  59. 1 Hallelujah I Love Her So [Live] Joe Brown 3:39
  60. 2 Some of These Days [Live] Joe Brown 2:10
  61. 3 Girls Girls Girls [Live] Joe Brown 2:19
  62. 4 El Relicario [Live] Joe Brown 2:18
  63. 5 Old Apache Squaw [Live] Joe Brown 1:58
  64. 6 Castin' My Spell [Live] Joe Brown 2:14
  65. 7 What a Crazy World We're Livin' In [Live] Joe Brown 1:18
  66. 8 Alley Oop [Live] Joe Brown 2:36
  67. 9 Hava Nagila (The Hora) [Live] Joe Brown 1:53
  68. 10 The Sheik of Araby [Live] Joe Brown 3:0
  69. 11 You Can't Lie to a Liar [Live] Joe Brown 2:2
  70. 12 Sweet Little Sixteen [Live] Joe Brown 2:59
  71. 13 What a Crazy World We're Livin' In [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:27
  72. 14 A Layabout's Lament [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:52
  73. 15 I Sure Know a Lot About Love [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 1:28
  74. 16 Bruvvers [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 1:42
  75. 17 Oh, What a Family [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 1:59
  76. 18 Alfred Hitchins [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:25
  77. 19 Sally Ann [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 1:54
  78. 20 Wasn't It a Handsome Punch Up [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 1:22
  79. 21 Please Give Me a Chance [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 3:44
  80. 22 Independence [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:14
  81. 23 I Feel the Same Way Too [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:27
  82. 24 Just You Wait and See [Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:48
  83. 25 Things We Never Had/What a Crazy World We're Living In (Reprise) [Medley - Film Soundtrack] Joe Brown 2:27

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