Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus – Going The Distance
A peculiar yet interesting showcase with shades of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott/Eric Darling voicings comes with excellent vocal arrangements/harmonies blended well in a warm, easy-going yet authoritative style. “Going The Distance,” won’t shake up anyone at a rally or protest but the intention is pure, sung with a heartfelt earthly spirit.
Produced by Ron Flynt (bass/piano/harmonium/acoustic & 12-string guitar/B3/baritone guitar/Wurlitzer/ harpsichord/accordion) in Austin, TX the set has significant songs, a few entertaining though repetitious in nature — “Struggling”. Comes with the territory. But good, nonetheless.
Like The Rooftop Singers, there’s a mystique between the male-female vocal mix. The material stands up in a nice flow, folky but not campy. Jim Patton (lead vocals/acoustic guitar) has a laid-back old-world folky voice. Its tone embodies the lyrics with authenticity & Sherry Brokus (harmonies) adds lots of colors.
“Words I Can’t Unsay,” is a surprisingly good serious folk tune, cleverly rendered. If you could cross Peter, Paul & Mary with the Kingston Trio you might see this unit emerge – or the Rooftop Singers.
“Janey It’s Alright,” could’ve used more enthusiasm, but I get it. It has the same stylistic charm of Sweet Thursday’s lead vocalist Jon Mark on their own tune “Jenny.”
The set’s for listening more than dancing or clapping hands. Fortunately, the music was worked on during the pandemic, but the duo wisely chose to avoid writing songs about it. Things like that don’t date well through the years.
The 12-cut, 31-minute Going The Distance (Drops June 3–Berkaline Records) however does address loneliness, unrealized dreams, plans gone astray & the detours of getting along with others. The songs are somewhat passive but so were the tunes of Sweet Thursday. All excellent for its time & that band included name session players (Nicky Hopkins/Brian Odgers/Jon Mark/Alun Davies/Harvey Burns). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kCf36xFmiw
Add’l musicians here include – Bill Kirchen (Telecaster on 3 tracks), Bettysoo (harmonies), Warren Hood (fiddle), Rich Brotherton (acoustic guitars/cittern/mandolin), John Bush (Gong Bops percussion) & Eric Hisaw (guitar on “Struggling”).
What Patton-Brokus needs are a few songs that are edgier – as Richard & Linda Thompson did. It would better fit the authors & artists they cite as influencers. Right now, they’re a good white wine when they need to be bourbon.
The songs are all likable if you can enjoy them in the spirit in which they were made. “Gino” is a well-written little story-tune. The more Rolling Stones-oriented rocker “Austin Night,” with its roots deep in the 50s night with headlights in the forest & kids being mischievous. It needs a more Robert Gordon or Mason Ruffner-type vocal. While Patton doesn’t have vocally that deep resonance of Fred Neil he does have character & Patton succeeds. The cover art of the CD is also compelling. Photo courtesy of their Facebook Page.
CD available @ Bandcamp + http://www.pattonbrokus.com/