Friday, September 08, 2006

Ithaca related 2 titles

"Alice Through the Looking Glass" (1969)
by Peter Howell & John Ferdinando

Peter Howell & John Ferdinando were involved in several recording projects in the late 1960s and early '70s that fused the poppier sides of British folk-rock and British progressive rock. In particular, their very limited-edition (50-100 copies) pressings of albums by Agincourt and Ithaca are valued by some specialist psychedelia collectors. Though a little lo-fi compared to records from the era of a similar nature on bigger labels, the albums to which the pair contributed have a nice light, airy, slightly naive feel, and are considerably above the average for such rarities of the time and style. Before doing the Agincourt and Ithaca albums, Peter Howell and John Ferdinando also put out a limited-edition LP in early 1969 of the soundtrack they did for the Ditchling Players' production of Alice Through the Looking Glass. This project arose out of an outgrowth of the pair's interest in recording material on their own equipment, outside of proper professional studios. The small town in which they resided, Ditchling (in Sussex, near Brighton), became aware of their activities and asked them to provide the music for the local stage production. Using many instruments (including guitars, organ, glockenspiel, piano, autoharp, mandolin, and sound effects), they constructed a musical backdrop that was akin to their future, slightly more celebrated efforts, but a little folkier and more basic. It was nice, low-key, almost wholly instrumental, whimsical period British psychedelia, but understandably more on the level of incidental music than an artistic statement. Unfortunately, the album was interrupted by insertions of jarring lo-fi spoken word extracts from the play, though most of the space was taken up by the music, which was acceptably well recorded. Howell and Ferdinando stopped working together in the '70s, after Howell (who'd been a BBC studio manager since 1970) began working at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where he worked on background music for radio, television, and film. The Alice Through the Looking Glass album was reissued in 1997 as a limited-edition LP in a press run of 1000 copies by Tenth Planet. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Friends "Fragile" (1972)
by Peter Howell & John Ferdinando

A year ago a friend told me he'd heard of a Japanese guy who had a cdr copy taken from an acetate copy of a kind of second Ithaca album called "Friends", recorded in 1972. When half a year ago after the official reissues of all the Howell/Ferdinando related albums, this album was announced. It was followed by a wave of disbelieve as if it couldn't be true, as if these musicians and label would do a contrick with a new recording, to make it sell better.
Compared to the earlier reissues, there are new liner notes with additional info on the developments of the music from Peter & John, explaining how the story evolved. Shortly after the Ithaca release which was a bit more a Ferdinando Project, Peter was invited to work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, so their last recording "Friends", a mainly Peter Howe Project, was never released. The label had made a test pressing which dates it as 1972 while the members thought it was done in 1974. In 1974 they had done a few more collaborations on musical comedy sketches for theatre, with two tapes issued as "The Whizz Theatre Company". But so far no tapes of these had been traced back.
"Friends" strangely still has the recognisable Ithaca / (or even more) Agincourt sound, mostly with different lead vocals, by Peter Howell mostly, but with all the same elements and participants, with 4 tracks featuring Ruth Cubbin on vocals. I had to listen a few times to be sure of what to think. The sound is very close to Agincourt, with a definite 60's sound. Just a few tracks are more 60's soft psychrock. Very good !! ~Psychedelic Folk web site

For more about Peter Howell and John Ferdinando, see here again: Psychedelic Folk
Now, most of you may collected Peter Howell and John Ferdinando related 5 albums (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Tomorrow Come Someday, Agincourt, Ithaca & Friends).


Blogger Fat Pam said...

Thanks Lizardson! Looking forward so much to hearing FRIENDS!

08 September, 2006 10:31  
Blogger Lizardson said...

You're very welcome fat pam.

08 September, 2006 10:43  
Blogger ProgLazarus said...

Thanks again so much. I have been trying to get hold of a copy of Alice Through the Looking Glass for years! And the Fragile Friends release completes my Howell & Ferdinando collection. Thanks for the excellent birthday present (tomorrow is my birthday)!

08 September, 2006 11:17  
Anonymous Eliot said...

Thanks so much!

08 September, 2006 18:29  
Blogger A Pound for a Brown said...

Amazing Albums!!!

08 September, 2006 20:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been looking for these forever-- thank you so much!

09 September, 2006 00:54  
Blogger newelectricmuse said...

Thanks for these - "Alice" is a bit of a curiosity complete with dialogue recorded in what seems to be a school hall! "Friends" sounds good. Do you have a link for the Agincourt album?

09 September, 2006 03:45  
Blogger newelectricmuse said...

Chocoreve has answered my question above byposting the Agincourt album - visit his excellent blog here:

11 September, 2006 00:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing and totally great. Thanks for opening my eyes to these!


22 September, 2006 09:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please repost! I've just discovered this wonderful thing!

20 March, 2007 14:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must be an angel,well you should be,godsent!Great gifts,thanks.

08 April, 2007 10:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful. Thank you so much. I have both of these on vinyl & CD respectively but its nice not to have to rip them now :-)

04 July, 2007 04:16  

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