Daily* Deep Track: Brinsley Schwarz “Shining Brightly”

Most of my Daily* Deep Tracks are rooted in a listening experience from the past twenty-four hours. I must honestly admit that today’s occurrence came merely from the fact that the song was stuck in my head for no apparent reason, and just wouldn’t exit my brain. I hadn’t committed the act of physically hearing Brinsley Schwarz’s “Shining Brightly” for at least a month or so, but this one seems to populate my brain frequently.

Brinsley Schwarz, if you didn’t know, were an English group featuring a dude named Brinsley Schwarz on guitar, and another dude named Nick Lowe on bass and lead vocals. Yes, the same Nick Lowe who, much later in the 70s, would crank out tasty power-pop nuggets like “Cruel to Be Kind,” “And So It Goes” and the hilariously gruesome “Marie Provost.” This 1970 version of Nick Lowe seemed to be in thrall to American CSN-esque harmony sounds, with a splash of light prog-rock to flesh it all out (most notably on early tracks like “Lady Constant” and “Ballad of a Has Been Beauty Queen”).brinsley

There’s nothing complicated about “Shining Brightly,” just a catchy sing-along for acoustic guitars, basic percussion and three harmony voices: but that’s precisely the point. It’s so damn catchy, that it really is no surprise that Nick’s knack for seemingly effortless hooks and melodies appeared long before he became a “name” musician. I was quite impressed the first time I heard it, purchased on reputation alone in a long-gone vinyl shop in downtown Gardner, Massachusetts (in a building that’s now condemned, last I knew). I still have the Brinsley Schwarz first-two-albums twofer in my vinyl collection, and upgraded (downgraded?) it to CD a number of years back.

I even listened to Beck’s “Morning Phase” and The Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” in their entirety in my travels today, but it was Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwarz that kept reverberating in my head. Well-played. (Don’t worry, “Sway,” you’ll get DDT honors someday.)



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