Michael Brown - gave the world Baroque Rock in 1966, but also some of the most elegant and haunting songs of the era.
Michael Brown – gave the world Baroque Rock in 1966, but also some of the most elegant and haunting songs of the era.

. . .or click on the link here for Audio Player – The Left Banke (w/Michael Brown) Live at BB Kings – April 29, 2012

One of the frustrations about The Left Banke, was the nonexistence of any live performances of the band during their halcyon days. Back when bands promoted their latest singles, their performances were relegated to lip-syncing on the popular TV shows of the period – and with the exception of the BBC’s Transcription Service, which offered more than enough live material, the American counterparts were woefully absent.

So trying to find any Left Banke material from 1966 turned up nothing.

And that’s a shame because The Left Banke were one of the truly unique bands to come along in the mid-1960s. Founded by then-16 year old writer/keyboard player Michael Brown, they Championed a new genre, coined by the Press as Baroque Rock, turning out elegantly crafted singles sporting a string quartet and harpsichord as part of the arrangement. And although the band was short-lived (one album with Michael Brown and a second minus Michael Brown), they left an indelible mark on Pop Music of the 60’s.

Michael Brown penned most all the hits for the band. Their smash debut in the form of Walk Away Renee has become required listening for almost anyone jumping into music of the 60s. But of their many hits, their follow-up single Pretty Ballerina was always my favorite. It was, to me, one of the perfect songs.

In Recent years The Left Banke staged a reunion. And this recording, made during a club gig at BB Kings in New York City on April 29, 2012, is probably only one or two known live versions of Michael Brown performing with The Left Banke.

Sadly, the sound isn’t as good as one would have hoped. The reformed band tries hard, but what was unique and special about The Left Banke had faded with time. Still – as a tribute to the memory of Michael Brown, who died earlier today (March 19th) of undisclosed causes, this may give you a small idea of what they were like in concert.

Another passing of another milestone figure in Rock – perhaps unappreciated and underrated at the time, has since become a pivotal figure in the evolution of music during a time of upheaval and change.

Rest in Peace Michael Brown – your contribution will never be forgotten.

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