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Long Gone Baby
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  • Liner Note Author: Spencer Leigh.
  • U.K. rock journeyman Buddy Britten was a contemporary of the Beatles, but you wouldn't immediately guess that listening to his records. Buddy Britten -- born Geoffrey Glover-Wright; he got his stage name during his early days as a Buddy Holly tribute act -- was a solid guitarist with a strong voice, but his style more closely recalled the very polished and show-bizzy sound of early U.K. rock than the fresher, less studied approach that was ushered in by the Fab Four, which may be why he enjoyed regional success but never broke through to major stardom in the U.K. (or made any dent at all in the United States). Later on, Glover-Wright updated himself a bit, forming a group with the more daring stage name the Simon Raven Cult, and still later reinventing himself as a solo act, Simon Raverne, but the professional polish that allowed him to enjoy a long and stable career in music also kept him from breaking through when British rock got wilder and more ambitious as the '60s wore on. Long Gone Baby: Complete Singles 1962-1967 brings together the 25 songs Glover-Wright released under his various aliases during the '60s (most issued by independent labels, though he did put out a few sides through Decca and Fontana) along with two previously unreleased tracks. Though the Buddy Britten tracks reveal no lost masterworks, this is all capable U.K. pop of the era, well-crafted and boasting fine harmonies and some inspired guitar work from Glover-Wright, who was gutsier with the six-string than he was as a vocalist. The later Raven/Raverne material is more stylistically diverse, from the mannered folk-rock of "Billy Christian" and the Music Hall romp "Empty Beaches, Cobbled Streets, and City Walls" to the arty accents of "Daily Situation" and the fuzzy garage-punk of "I Wonder If She Remembers Me." Overall, Long Gone Baby doesn't document the career of an overlooked major artist but an interesting minor one, though the liner notes from Spencer Leigh indicate Glover-Wright had a pretty fascinating run in show biz, from his early days aping Buddy Holly to hobnobbing with John Lennon, auditioning Keith Moon for his band, and playing military clubs in Vietnam before embarking on a second career as a novelist. ~ Mark Deming
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