1st ever re-issue of Brute Force’s ’67 debut w rare Apple track

Bar-None Records is honored to release the classic album “I, Brute Force –
Confections of Love.” After forty-six years of near obscurity, its time
has finally come. “I, Brute Force – Confections of Love” is an album for
the ages, an under-appreciated love letter to the world, and, most
importantly, a desperately needed escape from reality. You can check out
the immortal “Tapeworm Of Love” here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/howlinwuelf?feature=mhum#p/c/E53AA2EEC91A7CC9/5/qRWnhv6fCss

“I, Brute Force – Confections of Love” is quite possibly the greatest
album you’ve never heard. It’s a kaleidoscope for the sonically
adventurous, a reprieve from the maddening sameness of everyday life, and,
as explained in the liner notes, an invitation to meet the memorable
characters inhabiting Brutopia, an alternative America in which satire
doesn’t bite but merely nips, inhibitions get nudged and collapse all
akimbo, and love, however weird, conquers all.
One of the strangest and strongest albums of 1967, Brute Force’s debut,
“I, Brute Force – Confections of Love,” thrust the enigmatic artist into
the center of the musical conversation, where he shared studios with
Columbia Records label mates Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, and garnered the
praise of George Harrison and John Lennon. For the first time, “I, Brute
Force – Confections of Love” is available on CD, along with bonus tracks
that include Brute’s banned Apple Records single, “King of Fuh.”

Stephen Friedland, born in 1940, is the man behind the pseudonym Brute
Force. As a young man in New York City, Friedland was introduced to The
Tokens, an all-male doo-wop vocal group known for their hit, “The Lion
Sleeps Tonight.” The Tokens hired Friedland to work as a songwriter for
their music publishing company, Bright Tones Productions, and he
eventually became the group’s keyboardist. While working for Bright Tones
Productions, he wrote The Chiffons’ 1965 hit “Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On
(In My Mind But Me),” of which his version appears as a bonus track on
this album.

In 1967, with famed producer John Simon on board, Friedland went into the
studio to record his debut, I, Brute Force – Confections of Love. With
this record, he embarked on a journey to depart from the conventions of
the current pop music. Sprinkled with surprisingly conspicuous lyrics and
diverse instrumentation, his debut certainly stretched the envelope. His
characters, weirder than most, are still your basic star-crossed lovers,
just ones who march to a slightly quirkier drum. The music sounds familiar
and the challenges are the same, but it’s all happening in an alternate
dimension.

Brute Force’s mixed bag of songs is predictable only in its strange
catchiness and the accompanying urge to sing along. For example, while
listening to “In Jim’s Garage,” you may find yourself transported to the
same repair shop where the loving, though considerably greasy, Jim holds
his lover in his arms. Similarly, it’s difficult to avoid humming along to
the nonsensical warbling of Brute’s song “Sitting on a Sandwich,” which,
comically, is literally about sitting on a variety of sandwiches. The
verdict is still out on whether there is a deeper meaning in said
sandwich-sitting, but either way, Brute’s hyper-catchy songs are
consistently great, and it’s guaranteed that you’ll be immediately drawn
into their universe, strange as it may be.

Polished by George Harrison, championed by John Lennon, and released by
Apple Records, “King of Fuh,” which appears as a bonus track on this
release, is a timeless anthem, a song rightfully deserving of the Beatles’
seal of approval. The song, which at first seems to resemble a
straight-forward piano ballad, complete with a saccharine string section
and simple drumbeat, reveals Brute’s droll sense of humor as he reaches
the chorus and the king’s more common moniker is revealed: “I said the Fuh
King – he went to wherever he wanted to go/Mighty, mighty Fuh King/All
hail the Fuh King.”

But not even the Beatles’ praise would be able to secure airtime for a
song with such a controversial, albeit clever, chorus. Friedland’s record
label, Capitol/EMI, expressed its disapproval of “King of Fuh” by refusing
to release it, and the song was banned from the radio. This is not to say
that Friedland or Apple Records gave up. Apple Records privately pressed
2,000 copies of the single, along with its b-side, “Nobody Knows,” his
version of the Chiffons’ 1965 hit. Soon after, Friedland drove from New
York to Los Angeles, pushing his single along the way. To his
disappointment, this proved to be a fruitless journey, and, a few years
later, plagued by rejection and disillusionment, he left the music
industry.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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