The McBroom Sisters- Black Floyd
Durga McBroom is probably best known as one of the backing vocalists for Pink Floyd on The Momentary Lapse and Division Bell tours (she also sang on Blue Pearl’s 1990 hit “Naked In The Rain”). Here she teams up with her sister Lorelei on vocals along with keyboardist and co-producer Dave Kerzner, guitarist Randy McStine, guitarist David Fowler (who also mixed the album and plays in a Pink Floyd tribute band), Fernando Perdomo on bass and occasional guitar, drummer Derek Cintron and many other friends and musicians for a musical collective. The album has been about seven years in the making and the title is a play on words of Pink Floyd but also to honour and celebrate the roots of rock music. It features seven Pink Floyd songs and six original songs (including one short piece which will make sense later) with a total running time of around seventy-five minutes.
Opening song “Gods and Lovers” is the first of what I have called the originals (there was even a Motown group of that name). Built around a sultry acoustic guitar line and some nice twinkly keyboard arpeggios. Co-written by Jon Carin, it is a soulful tune and a nice way to open the album.
“Money Don't Make The Man” has a great Steve Porcaro shuffle groove on the drums. There are great synth brass stabs. One of the funkiest songs on the album. I especially like the sweeping synth solo which links into and interplays with the guitar solo.
Here is the first of the Pink Floyd songs, “Wish You Were Here”. This is one of the band’s most famous songs and the collective does a wonderful job with it. It is quite faithful to the original, but the female vocals give it another more soulful vibe (my apologies for using this word a lot but it is true). I really like the Hammond organ, piano and the vocoder on the vocals. The programmed drums also add a different effect that a real drummer would not have given.
“What Do You Want From Me” is from ‘The Division Bell’. I personally think it is one of the best Pink Floyd albums. This is one of my favourite songs on the album and another that makes great use of the organ. There is a wail at about one minute forty seconds that sounds like it is influenced by Clare Torry. Wonderful stuff.
“Love of a Lifetime” is the third of the originals. It opens with some handclaps and acoustic guitars and some soulful vocalizing. Not actually words but sounds. There are some great low octave piano stabs that give an eerie vibe but work well.
“Poles Apart” is another song from the underrated and wonderful ‘Division Bell’ album. Driven by acoustic guitar and soulful vocals, there are also some wonderful organ and mellotron sounds and what sounds like a flute. Fernando’s guitar solo is stunning, and David Gilmour would be proud.
“Have A Cigar” is from the ‘Wish You Were Here’ album. The guitars have given this version a lot of wonderful crunch and grit while keeping the blues-rock influence. A kind of progressive, hard rock blues sound, if you like. They have also extended it to seven minutes by adding a blues jam at the end. Listen carefully and you can hear electric piano influenced by “Money” from Dark Side Of The Moon. My favourite of the Pink Floyd songs from what is my favourite album by the band.
“Goodbye Blue Sky” is a different vibe from the previous song. Built around acoustic guitar, it is one of the most interesting songs on The Wall. There is not much change from the Pink Floyd version apart from the soulful female vocals, of course.
“A Girl Like That” is another of the originals and was co-written by Guy Pratt. Featuring lots of piano and even a vibraphone. It has a 1990s soul sound mixed in with some Scritti Politti influences but would also fit in perfectly on Carole Kings 1971 ‘Tapestry’ album.
“On The Turning Away” is from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. It is not an album that is rated highly in the Pink Floyd back catalogue but there are some fine songs, and this is one of them. David Fowler told me he felt that the snare drum sounded a little bit too weak and he should have triggered it to give it a bit more power, but it does not detract from the song. I love the guitar solo. Another one that David Gilmour would be proud of.
“The Great Gig In The Sky” does not sound much different to the 1973 version. The vocals are very moving, the samples have been re-recorded and the piano is still as beautiful as ever. I even think Nick Mason played drums on this version.
“Forgotten How To Smile” was co-written by the late Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister. This one was quite difficult to analyze as it is not a song influenced by Motorhead but quite a sad soft rock song with acoustic guitar, Hammond organ and a snare drum rimshot during the verses. The man certainly had a lot of songwriting styles and this might have been one of the last things he wrote before he died.
“Intermission” is forty seconds long and features voice-over samples of the sisters doing pretend adverts. It came about because there was some bleed-through on the click track while the vocals were being recorded. David Fowler turned it into a ticking clock. A happy accident influenced by Pink Floyd that segues neatly into the next and last song.
“Cocoon” was co-written by Durga McBroom and Dave Kerzner. It is a slow ballad with some beautiful piano throughout. There are also some string sounds, organ and even violin mixed in with the guitars, bass and drums. At nine minutes, it is the longest song on the album and by far my favourite of the original songs. I guess in many ways we have all been in our own cocoon this year.
Pink Floyd with female singers is not uncommon. The band used backing vocalists for years, but this is the first time hearing many pink Floyd songs with female voices (except “The Great Gig In The Sky” of course). They both have lovely voices and are backed up by some of the best musicians in the progressive rock community. I must give a special mention to David Fowler who mixed and mastered the album. He has done a stunning job using just Cubase on his home computer. I was impressed with what everybody has done with both the Pink Floyd songs and the songs that were written.