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George Brigman

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George Brigman was a real anomaly in the world of '70s rock -- a singer-guitarist whose sound was heavily influenced by British blues-rockers such as the Groundhogs and Cream, yet whose D.I.Y. production and distribution methods were more in line with the ethos soon to be popularized by punk and indie rock. His sound is too uncouth to be embraced by most of the fans of his biggest influences, yet is too indebted to the sounds of late-'60s and early-'70s hard rock to be embraced by punk and new wave enthusiasts. Were it not for the efforts of some maverick collectors, his sole, rare album would be virtually unheard, and other recordings he made in the '70s would have never come out. Reissues of Brigman's work have given him a cult reputation among some aficionados of the odd and obscure, and Brigman is an imaginative, unpredictable guitarist who often takes classic blues-rock on weird tangents with his varied uses of distortion and other effects. His songwriting, however, has an almost punky belligerence, emphasizing riffing grooves over varied melodics. This idiosyncratic combination will guarantee that his music will not be to everyone's taste, or be an acquired taste. Brigman began recording in his Baltimore home at the age of 18 in 1973. Soon afterward, with the help of a couple friends, he recorded material in a Baltimore studio and released the Jungle Rot album on his small Solid label in 1975. An LP of that sort had little chance of getting airplay or press in the mid-'70s, though he continued to make music with the bands Hogwash and Split, issuing a single in 1977. Other recordings he made at the time were unreleased, and by the early '80s he'd stopped making music, discouraged by the murder of Split bassist and friend Mitchell Myers. Collector Rick Noll, however, found the Jungle Rot LP in a junk shop around this time, arranging for the release of some Brigman material on his Bona Fide label. Both Jungle Rot and an abundance of songs from Brigman's 1977 sessions have become available on CD. ~ Richie Unterberger

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