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George Brigman - Rags In Skull (2007)


There’s no denying that the 32 year recording career of George Brigman has resulted in much acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic for his infrequent releases. George has been called a “genius” (DJ Cherrystones), his music has been tagged “astonishing” (Jon Savage, Mojo) and his guitar playing was described by David Fricke as a “heady revelation” and by Richie Unteberger in the All Music Guide as “imaginative and unpredictable”. The many facets of George’s talents collide head-on in Rags in Skull, and the result is his most fully realized recording ever, a swirling mindblowing collection that finally captures the full scope of Brigman’s moods in stunning bone crunching fidelity. Rags in Skull is the culmination of years of recording and demonstrates that not only has George become a forceful singer, but his guitar playing and songwriting have continued to grow and evolve as well. Brigman’s unusual approach is on full display here as his tunes here display elements of classic heavy 70s rock, screaming psychedelia, heavy metal, jazz and further sonic experimentation. George’s distinctive vibe is all his own, and though his roots are in the heavy blues based rock of bands like Blue Cheer and the Groundhogs, that is but one element of his web of sound. Lively uptempo instros are followed by wistful ballads in turn followed by firey, bottom-heavy rockers. The heavy ghetto vibe that George staked out and claimed for his own with his debut Jungle Rot LP is still here. The weariness of life’s struggle, two faced friends, and cracking up are just a few of the topics covered and driven home in finely crafted fashion as George sings about being “on the borderline”.

Always on the borderline and outside the mainstream, George has been labeled by some as “outsider music” mainly due to his DIY attitude, though, truly, George is no longer an outsider. His recordings have been praised, cherished, and sadly bootlegged for years, and now after a career of ups and downs with numerous records both in the US and Europe, Brigman’s day in the sun has arrived.. Rags in Skull is the long overdue piece of the puzzle where the music world has finally caught up with George and he has served up a tasty platter, yet another intoxicating witches brew of sonic wizardry!



Take for example “Some of My Best Friends Are Snakes” a swirling pounding tune about betrayal—“if not for you, I never would have known...”—that features more of the slashing, spiraling distorted guitar George is noted for. This time the full frontal attack thunders through the speakers with raw fury! That track is followed by the riff heavy rave up “Goin to Pieces” a crunching proto-metal tune whose heaviness is offset by George’s soft vocals giving the tune about cracking up an unusual sinewy feel. The riffs fly out of George’s guitar like st elmo’s fire and you suddenly realize that George’s muse must be innate and his guitar may be possessed! Brigman’s tunes shine and his guitar playing soars over all. His rapid fire licks continue to amaze and burn as bright as ever now.

Another rocker “So This Is Life” features George reflecting on the emptiness of life while his guitar wails and the drums pound relentlessly in direct contrast to the weary lyrics. The stunning tune is yet more proof Brigman has grown wiser and has channeled his efforts into a flowing , powerful sound filled with depth and beauty. Although George still has his defiant attitude, Brigman is no longer the angry teenager who recorded Jungle Rot . Now a seasoned musician who has aged like fine wine, Brigman fulfills his early promise by delivering another rich work that will stand the test of time. George Brigman is taking you for a trip where music is unpredictable and fresh, and Rags in Skull is but the latest chapter in an incredible career that started back in 1975 and is still going strong! Yes, it is a great thing that George Brigman is still doing it–now more than ever!

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