Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Heron 1st & 2nd (UK Folk)

"Heron" (1970)

During the post psychedelic era for folk music many bands fused together delicate melancholia with a simple folk basis. Heron like Waterfall, some Magna Carta and Dulcimer fall into this area. Some would say that it derives from Simon and Garfunkal but this seems to be less story based than their music and more introspective. Heron bring guitar, banjo and keyboards such as acoustic or electric piano to provide a fairly unique, gentle sound that seems to work late at night or early in the morning as a kind of slightly sad background music. Looking back we might place it closest in intent to the music Nick Drake wrote and performed so definitively. If the music doesn't scale the heights of that unique artists then in truth not much actually does but this is not to dismiss the merits of the music here. The songs are performed live in one take and when listening to the album the listener can hear the call of birds in chorus throughout the songs and especially in segues between them. This further emphasizes the aforementioned ambient aspect and gives the music a naturalistic element that they could not have planned. The songs are fairly consistent, often beautifully written but slight and seeming on the edge of falling into silence at any moment. As the songs achieve and maintain a certain quality, sometimes with dialogue at the start and end it is difficult to pick out individual songs. 'Car Crash' seems desperately sad, 'The Wanderer' (compiled on the Lammas Night Laments CDrs) has a fantastic McCartney styled melody framed by electric piano. Indeed Paul McCartney's simpler songs with The Beatles are a key influence throughout the album and especially 'Blackbird'. The instrumentation varies by introducing harmonica or accordion instead of piano on some songs but these are slightly different shades of the same painting. 'Lord and Master' is particularly nice and seems to have echoes in modern folk artists like Cara Dillon. 'Goodbye' is simple and has lyrics which bring out the sadness even more. 'Minstrel and King' is like McCartney performing Amazing Blondel. While on the whole the album and it's bonus tracks don't add up to a classic, it would be a shame if it was lost or underappreciated and it is well worth investigating further.

"Twice As Nice & Half The Price" (1971)

This second Heron album from 1971 was originally released as a double album at the price of one; hence the title.
The album shows a greater variety of musical styles than the 1970 debut album. Still it's the acoustic folk-style that's predominant, mixed with some more rocking tunes. Most of the album was recorded out in the open outside a Devon country cottage, which gives the album an unique atmosphere.
Their songwriting is even more convincing here than on their debut. Their have 2 excellent songwriters in Gerald T. Moore and Roy Apps ( who is still with the band ).
Here on their early records it's Moore who is shining the most. His songs "My Turn to Cry", "Minstrel and the King", "The Devil" and "Big A" are simply outstanding. Roy Apps' strongest contributions here are probably "Take Me back Home" and "Your Love and Mine". Another favourite out mine is their charming version of Woody Guthrie's "The Great Dust Storm".
A shame that a lot of people are not aware that the band is still together and recording fine new material from time to time, released on their own Relaxx label.
Roy Apps has once stated that the album probably ought to have been cut down to a single album; maybe . . but it would have been extremely hard to pick out the tracks that would have to go!
Also highly recommendable!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the posts!! Been looking for Heron for soo long! Any chance of posting some solo Robin Williamson anytime? That would be incredible! :D

31 August, 2006 02:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rare stuff here! thanks a lot :D

long live your website!

02 September, 2006 20:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee... i knew "Twice As Nice & Half The Price" but I didn't know "Heron" (1970) was so great too!

03 September, 2006 21:55  
Anonymous mickbrix said...

Heron were\are superb but these are the only albums I have heard.There must be more out there, I can see the discography but I'd like to try before I buy if possible ...really excellent blog.
thank you

12 February, 2007 23:42  
Anonymous another Chris said...

Twice as Nice & Half the Price is no longer available from Lost-in-Tyme, but is available here :

13 June, 2008 07:16  
Blogger Guldhamstern said...

Great post. I've listen to their first record every day in a month now. Thank you.

02 July, 2008 21:00  
Blogger Jaroslav said...

Oh, God! Links were disappeared?

04 August, 2009 21:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Links you can find here >>


05 September, 2009 20:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


06 October, 2010 23:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the new official Heron fanpage on facebook:

26 April, 2012 02:50  

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