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Someone like You - Pete Brown and Piblokto!



Pete Brown began his life in Ashtead, Surrey, on Christmas Day in 1940, but by the early 60's he was scratching together a precarious existence in the burgeoning Liverpool poetry scene alongside the likes of Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten. Come 1965 he was to be found trading lines with Michael Horovitz at the now legendary International Poetry Incantation at the Royal Albert Hall along with Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Adrian Mitchel et al.


Like all troubadours, Brown believed that music needed poetry, particularly his poetry if it was to be heard, and if he was to make a living out of it. To this end he formed a series of bands, the best of which was Piblokto!. Pete Brown and Piblokto! bought out two albums both in 1970. The first of these was "Things May Come and Things May Go but the Art School Dance Goes on Forever" from which "Someone like You" is taken. The only problem with Piblokto! was that Pete wasn't quite good enough as a vocalist to do his own lyrics justice. The words to the songs on the Piblokto! albums are rich with imagery and social metaphor and deserve the exposure which a better singer might have brought them.


The band itself, certainly, was up to scratch, as Jim Mullen's nimble guitar here testifies, beautifully echoing Brown's lines, and here also the poet's vocal is at his best. But it's the words that arrest you, a complex comparison of two relationships, and the value and risks of love. A shallow gold digger can't hurt and emotionally maim as much as true passion, the cynically detached yet romanticised verses savagely undercut by the condemnatory pronouncements of each final line:


"Now she's going to find a beautiful lover -

the finest that money can buy -

they're gonna climb every mountain

and then reach out for the sky

and though he may cost her a fortune

and melt away just like the dew

he'll never be half as much heartache as someone like you


She's going to find a beautiful penthouse -

the finest that money can buy -

it'll have a real sort of fountain,

bedrooms where nobody will lie

and though it may cost her a fortune

and blow away just like a feather

it'll never be half as much sorrow as when we were together


She's going to find a beautiful racehorse -

the finest that money can buy -

and race the wind over the green hills

and teach all the birds how to fly

and though it may cost her a fortune,

grow old and lame and wither away,

it'll never be half as much pain as you were every day


She's going to find a beautiful sportscar -

the finest that money can buy -

she's gonna drive into a dark night

where all but the echoes they die

and though it may cost her a fortune

and hurt just for a minute or two

it'll never be half as much pain as someone like you

as someone, someone, yeah someone, anyone

as someone, yeah anybody, oh someone, yeah someone

like you, like you babe, I said like you, like you......"


Pete Brown may be gone, but his words will haunt you if you let them in.

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