Album cover for Homemade by David Brinkworth & the Pit

David Brinkworth & the Pit – Homemade – Album Review

Two years ago I attended an open mic night. The young bucks with their “copycasters” stood expectantly at the back of the pub, primed, in readiness of their impending Oasis covers. Part way through proceedings and without ceremony a carefully coiffured gent with a demure manner and carefully chosen tank-top seated himself in front of his electric piano. Within a few bars those with an open mind moved closer whilst the Gallagher-a-likes stood motionless and open-mouthed at the back. The evening was my first introduction to David Brinkworth and the Pit.

The one man variety show has produced an album entitled: Homemade. Please believe me when I state the album is not only homemade, it’s bespoke, it’s well-tailored and quintessentially eccentrically IT! As charming as Bagpuss, as unique as a Morris dancer’s attire and as English as a written apology that begins: “I am sorry you are unhappy.”

The unbridled happiness of Oom pah! is offset by the somewhat sinister notes and chords nailed down at the start of the backroom bar ditty. The voice jars in the same way that Lee Marvin did all those years ago on the first ever punk record (?); much like Marvin’s voice, Brinkworth’s “60 a day voice overs” win you over by the second line. However, the phrase “Oom pah, oom pah, stick it up your jumper” is the line that captures a bygone era and hints at the songwriter’s awareness of history. The line itself was banned by the BBC (sic). This is as punk as it gets…

“A bit of tweed” is a hymn to the often scorned material…tweed. Honestly. Self-conscious and self-parodying the song is a Hinge and Bracket-esque monologue which celebrates the wearing and the joy of tweed. Such is the humour in Brinkworth’s songs it is difficult to work out if he is mocking himself or us, his appreciative audience.   

As a listener to this collection of songs a sense of humour, as John Peel was fond of saying: “Is so very important.”  

Importantly, the first track I heard live – “Ring around the bath” – laughingly narrates the disappointing relationship of a young bride that married a chimney sweep who only ever gives her one single gift. Yes, you’ve guessed and the chorus is as memorable as… 

The plinky-plonky choral celebration of “Baked beans on toast” a song that had the disbelieving “fringes” at the back of the pub gaping at the outrageous complex simplicity of the song. The song borrows a few chord changes and articulates the questionable repercussions of a 60p can of beans in tomato sauce. It takes all varieties…       

This album, or our David, is the embodiment of Variety, of Music Hall of the Sunday afternoon turn in the backroom of the pub. However, just scratch below the surface and you will discover an awareness of social history which informs and influences his work.

The splendid track, well “I’m not so splendid anymore”, includes passing mentions of “gin, the plague and cholera” and an inclusion of an “opium den”. Clearly, our erstwhile entertainer is not afraid to immerse himself in a history that, like Brinkworth, has so much to offer.

The very real folk devil that was “Spring Heeled Jack” was for many, both alive and a genuine threat to society. The Pit has resurrected this 1837 folk-devil and vocally Brinkworth leaps from rooftop to rooftop producing a musical penny-dreadful which is mired in Victoriana.      

Coming from the West Midlands David Brinkworth is proud of his Brummie heritage and industrial twang. Consequently, the song “Yamagoodun” is written in and sung in the vernacular replete with Brummie sayings and homilies; a true singalong crowd pleaser which captures the Brummie philosophy.     

Maybe those at the back of the pub didn’t really want to know on that first night. On the other hand, for those in the know, Homemade is an apothecary jar of ideas and influences worth exploring. Yes, the jar might be hidden at the back of the dark wood cabinet and covered in dust but there is a magical other world inside. This album is so much more than mere parlour games…

*The album, Homemade by David Brinkworth and the Pit, was released at the start of May 2021 and is available on bandcamp. Mr. Brinkworth has also produced 100 cds which are “very nice in an impoverished kind of way” can be purchased for £6.00 via his Facebook page.  

By: The Swilgate Scuttler

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