The Beau Brummels – Triangle (1967)

Triangle is the fourth studio album by American rock band The Beau Brummels. Produced by Lenny Waronker and released in July 1967, it was the band’s first album to include songs that vocalist Sal Valentino and guitarist Ron Elliott composed together. The band incorporated fantasy elements and surreal characters into the album’s song titles and lyrics, and worked with a variety of session musicians to create Triangle’s psychedelic musical style. The Beau Brummels were reduced to a trio—Valentino, Elliott, and Ron Meagher—at the time Triangle was recorded, as former group members Don Irving (guitars) and John Petersen (drums) left the band following the release of the group’s previous album, Beau Brummels ’66.

Triangle reached number 197 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and received mostly positive reviews; critics commended Elliott as a songwriter and compared Valentino’s vocals to those of Bob Dylan. The single “Magic Hollow” was ranked one of “The 100 Greatest Psychedelic Classics” in a 1997 issue of Mojo magazine.

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Are You Happy?” Bob Durand, Ron Elliott 2:17
2. “Only Dreaming Now” Elliott, Sal Valentino 2:06
3. “Painter of Women” Durand, Elliott 2:51
4. “The Keeper of Time” Durand, Elliott 2:09
5. “It Won’t Get Better” Elliott, Valentino 2:02
6. “Nine Pound Hammer” Merle Travis 3:19

Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Magic Hollow” Elliott, Valentino 2:53
2. “And I’ve Seen Her” Durand, Elliott 1:59
3. “Triangle” Elliott, Valentino 2:17
4. “The Wolf of Velvet Fortune” Elliott, Valentino 4:52
5. “Old Kentucky Home” Randy Newman 2:05

AllMusic Review: The jewel in the Beau Brummels’ crown, Triangle was an unexpected departure from the band’s earlier hitmaking formula — and demonstrated Ron Elliott’s growing maturation as a songwriter. All the band’s signature styles (folk, country swing, and Brit-pop) are still heard in the mix, but the tunes here assume an added aura of mysticism. Buried commercially by the likes of Sgt. Pepper, Triangle shared its premise of songs loosely united by a common theme — in this case, a ruminative dream cycle (though to call Triangle a concept album might be overstating the case). The exquisite “Magic Hollow,” graced by Van Dyke Parks’ delicate harpsichord, was surely the LP’s highlight. Plucked as a single, it barely dented the charts, yet remains one of the most beautiful tunes in the entire Brummels canon. The album’s first five songs — “Are You Happy,” “Only Dreaming Now,” “Painter of Women,” “Keeper of Time,” and “It Won’t Get Better” — form a surprisingly coherent and cohesive whole despite marked differences. “Dreaming”‘s accordion transports the listener to Paris’ Montmartre, while “Painter” suggests the shifting sands of the Middle East. Elliott’s lyric imagery in these tunes and a third track — “The Wolf of Velvet Fortune” — is particularly striking, and Sal Valentino’s richly expressive voice elevates all three to sublime heights. Too long ignored by rock cognoscenti, Triangle is (all hyperbole aside) a fine album that deserves to be heard by a wider audience. In late 2002 Collectors’ Choice increased the odds of this occuring by reissuing the album on CD. — Stansted Montfichet

Schill Score: 8.5/10

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