The final collaboration between singer Julie Driscoll (by that time dubbed as "The Face" by the British music weeklies) and Brian Auger's Trinity was 1969's Streetnoise -- it was an association that had begun in 1966 with Steampacket, a band that also featured Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry. As a parting of the ways, however, it was Trinity's finest moment. A double album featuring 16 tracks, more than half with vocals by Driscoll, the rest absolutely burning instrumentals by Trinity. (Auger on keyboards and vocals, Driscoll on acoustic guitar, Clive Thacker on drums, and Dave Ambrose on bass and guitars.) "Tropic of Capricorn," an instrumental Auger original, kicks off in high gear. It's a knotty prog rock number that contains elements of Memphis R&B. it sounds better than it reads; it twists and turns around a minor key figure that explodes into solid, funky grit with Thacker double timing the band. Driscoll enters next with "Czechoslovakia," a wide-open modal tune that hints at the kinds of music she would explore in the very near future on her debut 1969 and later, with future husband Keith Tippett. Broken melody lines and drones are the framework for Driscoll to climb over and soar above, and she does without faltering before she slides into the traditional gospel tune, "Take Me to the Water." And this is how this record moves, from roiling progressive rock instrumentals and art songs, done rock style, to inspired readings of the hits of the day such as "Light My Fire," "Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)" from Hair, and one of most stirring readings ever of Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" that closes the album. "Indian Rope Man," is a burning, organ-driven churner that fuses Stax/Volt R&B funkiness with psychedelic rock and jazz syncopation. Driscoll's vocal is over the top; she's deep into the body of the tune and wrings from it every ounce of emotion from it. Auger's organ solo is a barnburner; reeling in the high register, he finds the turnarounds and offers his own counterpoint in the middle and lower one with fat chords. The rhythm section keeps the groove, funking it up one side and moving it out to the ledge until the coda. Another steaming rocker is "Ellis Island," with it's dueling Fender Rhodes and organ lines. it may be the finest instrumental on the album. "Looking in the Eye of the World" features Driscoll in rare form, singing in her voice's lower register accompanied only by Auger's piano on a blues moan worthy of Nina Simone. Streetnoise was a record that may have been informed by its era, but it certainly isn't stuck there, especially in the 21st century. The music sounds as fresh and exciting as the day it was recorded. This is a must-have package for anyone interested in the development of Auger's music that was to change immediately with the invention of the Oblivion Express, and also for those interested in Driscoll's brave, innovative, and fascinating career as an improviser, who discovered entirely new ways of using the human voice. Streetnoise is brilliant.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek