Nothing Lives Long, He Sang, Only the Earth and the Mountains

Brave Captain

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Nothing Lives Long, He Sang, Only the Earth and the Mountains Review

by Ned Raggett

Rather than release both of the Fingertip Sessions volumes in America as they were originally issued, Thirsty Ear combined selections from the two for Nothing Lives Long, keeping the cover art from the second one intact. "Raining Stones," "Big Red Control Machine," "Third Unattended Bag on the Right," and "The Tragic Story" turned up from the original EP, while the remaining eight songs came from the full album. With a fully rearranged running order for all the tracks, it makes a handy way for cost-conscious fans and newcomers alike to sample Brave Captain's wares. As such, it actually makes for a better introduction to Martin Carr's solo career than either of the two original releases, dropping some of the lesser cuts like "Starfish." From the songs that do remain (especially the earlier cuts), it's still obvious that Sice was practically born to sing them instead of his ex-Boo Radleys cohort, but the music itself is often quite enjoyable, very much in line with his old band's mix-and-match approach to pop, and Carr acquits himself vocally better than might be expected. The unheralded but key participant in the sessions is Gorwel Owen, the Welsh producer and musician whose enthusiasm and mentoring vision assisted so many of his fellow countrymen, like Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, through the 1990s. Besides engineering all the songs, Carr performs everything from percussion and guitar to glockenspiels and, in one amusing credit, "that machine that goes blamblamblam." The cryptic but appreciative liner notes come from Mike Watt, who contributed the band's name by penning a song of that title on fIREHOSE's Ragin', Full-On back in 1986. It's a nice nod back, even though Carr's music bears no obvious connection to Watt's rock/punk/jazz fusions.

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