My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: T. Graham Brown – ‘Brilliant Conversationalist’

UnknownT. Graham Brown released his second album for Capitol Nashville, Brilliant Conversationalist, in 1987. He reteamed with producer Bud Logan and scored three top ten hits from the project.

Horns and piano drench the title track, which hit number 9. Brown gives a commanding performance on the tune about a guy picking up a girl in a bar. “She Couldn’t Love Me Anymore,” a contemporary styled tune, peaked at number four. Brown’s gruff vocal cuts through the shellac, which isn’t pleasant enough to save the overall recording. Capitol saved the best single, “Last Resort” for last. The most restrained of the three, but still contemporary, Graham sells the story with ease. Like its predecessor, the track also topped out at number four.

The rest of the album is a mixed bag of upbeat jams mixed with a couple of ballads that display very little trademarks of actual country music. “RFD 30529” chugs along courtesy of electric guitar riffs and synthesizers that weren’t out of place with some of the pop styles of the day. “Save That Dress” is terrible, a contrived lyric about a guy pleading for his girlfriend to save some items from being sold at a yard sale, mostly because they’re skimpy or low cut. “Talkin’ To It” sounds like nothing more than a bad karaoke rip-off of Huey Lewis and The News. “Walk on Water” is more restrained, but still not much better.

The ballads are far more listenable, but that isn’t saying much. “Anything to Lose” goes the gospel route, while “The Power of Love” is far more AC than country. From that angle it isn’t half bad. His cover of “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay” is okay, but the ocean sound effects are more cheesy than effective.

Simply put, Brilliant Conversationalist has so little to do with country music, New Traditionalist or otherwise, I’m surprised it was marketed to the genre at all. Brown has a good voice, but the horns and synthesizers are so out of place and cheesy to my ears, twenty-seven years later. This project is long forgotten because it wasn’t very good to begin with, and save one or two songs, isn’t worth revisiting. You shouldn’t judge a product by its cover, but in this case, I think it says it all.

Grade: C

One response to “Album Review: T. Graham Brown – ‘Brilliant Conversationalist’

  1. Razor X January 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    TGB was bucking the trends of the time, which were in a more traditional direction. If he broken through 5 or 6 years earlier I think he would have had a longer reign at the top of the charts. I haven’t listened to this album and don’t remember anything from it aside do the title track, which I did like at the time. You’re right, though, it wasn’t very country.

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