Friday, July 14, 2006

String Driven Thing (UK Folk 1968, 1970)

This group were a three-piece, originally formed in Glasgow in '68 by husband and wife Chris and Pauline Adams, with John F. Mannion. Chris Adams wrote all the material on this lovely little beauty. It's nice, light and breezy west coast-styled sunshine/harmony pop with just a tiny glimpse of psych. The performances on the album [reissued on CD- Green Tree Records (TRC-GTR-CD-OO7)1993] were supplemented by session musicians and a few tracks were meant only as demos for publishing companies. So here we go. It's time to jump into this ray of sunshine with the first number coincidentally titled 'July Morning', which sums this gem of a ditty to a tee and gives you a clue of what to expect from this album. This is a breezy song with a strong West Coast-feel, lovely swirling strings and nice snatches of mellotron in the upbeat chorus and harmonies that don't belong to a wet cloudy Glasgow. Then we get our sunglasses and move on to 'Say What You Like', a slow number with a slight twangy country influence, its saving grace is the catchy chorus and nice harmonies again with that West Coast-feel still dominating. This is followed by something a lot better, which to me is a gem of a popsyke tune called 'Magic Garden' which features scrummy fuzzed guitar that goes lovely with the sunshine harmonies on this commercial sounding piece of loveliness. Next up is another beauty going by the name of 'Wonderful Places' with splendid mellotron that adds to the floaty lethargic (or should that be lysergic) atmosphere which would be perfect for lazy stoned summer nights, then as you feel yourself floating away you're woken up by an upbeat chorus which is unexpected, as the chorus says "I like it, I like it, I really, really like it" you surely will, one of the more psych-influenced songs on the album. On we go to a heartfelt ballad entitled 'I Don't Want To Wake Up Without You', with melancholic strings and brass but as with the previous song it is also enlivened by an upbeat chorus. Then we're back into the swing of things as we go with 'City Man'; with more fuzzed guitar and soaring male/female harmonies, this could be an out-take from a Peanut Butter Conspiracy album - good catchy guitar in this 3 minutes of bliss. As we swelter onto the next nugget of sunshine called 'Another Night In This Old City' (which would fit easily on the Ripples series or other comps of a similar persuasion), starts and stays with sweet sounding jazzy flute with neatly understated strings and as ever those cracking harmonies - can we have some more please? Of course you can with a slight drop in standard with 'That's My Lady', with strings dominated by cello with acoustic guitar and yummy singing. Then we're off to the shade with 'Catch As Catch Can' with a slow melodramatic sounding cello with acoustics, the swirling strings rise up with electric guitar strumming away, then... Bang! we're into another upbeat chorus, and it goes back into slow territory, again with nice harmonies. 'No More You And I' is the sweetest of numbers which is shot thru with a electric sitar, and some well-arranged strings with a brass accompaniment that goes well with the strumming acoustic guitar that's down low in the mix, and the vocals finish this little beauty nicely. The next for some sunscreen is 'Lie Back And Let It Happen' which doesn't start off too clever with what you think is going to be a depressing singer/songwriter type of thing; but no, we want the sun back, so onward we go into another cheery chorus with nice harmonies and little snatches of brass, then the song winds down as it started. The sunny holiday comes to an end with 'One Of Those Lonely People' a mellow acoustic-dominated tune which reminds me of something else, can anyone guess? Cos I can't remember. If you appreciate very commercial sunshine/harmony pop with a tiny influence of psych then you WILL enjoy this album. It has a warmth to it that makes for an enjoyable listen. ---by Stuart Robertson

This album was recorded in 1968 and released in 1970 through private Concord label, and containing different song tracks as same titled album 1972 (Charisma label).

1. July Morning
2. Say What You Like
3. Magic Garden
4. Wonderful Places
5. I Don't Wanna Wake Up Without You
6. City Man
7. Another Night In This Old City
8. That's My Lady
9. Catch As Catch Can
10. No More You And I
11. Lie Back And Let It Happen
12. One Of The Lonely People

Download (re-post)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds interesting. i'd heard an album by them called The Machine That Cried once, and it was much more prog oritented, so want to give this a listen and see if i remember what their sound was like later on ..

14 July, 2006 11:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm I love the idea behind this website, very unique.

20 July, 2006 09:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fun album, thanks for sharing it!

22 July, 2006 01:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. I have a short bootleg
from BBC 74, that I record from a AM Radio station program in seventies, with musics from this album (The Machine...)and is more simple, more rock. And I like too.
thank you and more SDT is apreciated.

23 July, 2006 05:28  
Anonymous Les said...

Thought you would like to know that Chris Adams and String Driven Thing have recorded a new album, Moments of Truth, which is due for release in the autumn of 2006. Songwriting is straight out the top drawer and the stripped down arrangements (i.e. no electric violin) really let them breathe.

As a low-key warm up exercise, String Driven Thing are appearing as special guests at The Trumpton Riot, on August 19th 2006 in the village of Carradale, Kintyre, Scotland. More info at the link shown. Limited number of tickets available at £12 for true STD fans. Email me at lesdotomanatdialdotpipexdotcom if you are interested

04 August, 2006 20:28  
Anonymous bluenorther said...

This is one of those rare folk rock albums where the songwriting does matter.Thanks.

22 March, 2007 03:52  
Anonymous meaira said...

sounds like it would be great. the download link no longer works. is it possible to repost?

love your website. especially thanks for all the nick drake!


17 April, 2007 09:05  

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