One Track Mind: Doyle Bramhall II, "Marry You" (1998)

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by Pico

Doyle Bramhall II has been around so much fame and combined with his songwriting and guitar talents, it’s downright shocking that he hadn’t become more than an underground hero himself.

But, man, what a résumé.

The son of drummer and Stevie Ray Vaughan collaborator Doyle Bramhall, Doyle The Deuce co-fronted the brief but brilliant successor to SRV’s Double Trouble. That would be the Austin, TX-based ARC Angels which existed in the years right after Vaughan’s death. After their 1993 breakup and three solid but unnoticed solo albums, DBII began making a name for himself touring and sessioning with the likes of Roger Waters, Susan Tedeschi, B.B. King and Sheryl Crow, as well as working extensively with “God” (aka Eric Clapton).

A blooz guy at heart, Bramhall is equally comfortable in the soul and rock realms, which helps to explain his first-call sideman status. Those trio of albums he made around the turn of the millennium also revealed he picked up his dad’s ability to write good songs, too. One of those came from his second LP Jellycream, called “Marry You.”

“Marry You,” was actually a co-write with Brahmhall bandmembers Craig Ross and Susannah Melvoin (who, incidentally, is the gal Doyle did marry). It’s is a slick, rhythm-and-blues mid-tempo head-nodder with a funky percolating rhythm. It’s catchy enough to fall into the pop realm but the organ and Bramhall’s incisive, to-the-point guitar sounding like a Tex Mex’d David Gilmour give it just enough grit to qualify it as hip.

The lyrics won’t challenge Dylan for craftiness, but it’s got it’s own off-kilter charm in how the lines sometimes rhymes, sometimes don’t:

It’s the sugar so sweet,
Kind I’d like to meet
You at midnight
And tell no one else about it.

I’m going to make you mine
‘Cause I know we’ve got the time
Now and then, baby.
Hey, I want you to know

As for the singing? Bramhall’s throaty but controlled vocals are soulful and confident…just like the song itself.

So, yeah, I think it’s a good tune. So does Eric Clapton and B.B. King, apparently; they covered on their 2000 collaboration Riding With The King. I’d call that a ringing endorsement.

Sample: Doyle Bramhall II “Marry You”

“One Track Mind” is a more-or-less weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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