Monday, September 11, 2006

Miriam Backhouse "Gypsy Without A Road" (UK Folk 1977)

This artist is a now obscure female folk singer whose sole album merged the traditional with subtle progressive influences. The album was produced by fellow musician Saffron Summerfield and has a clean, expansive sheen to the sound. It merges traditional songs such as 'John Riley' with a number of songs penned sympathetically for her. The album uses members of the Etheridge family on harmony vocals and guitar and on the lovely first song 'Far Away Tom' they add swooning strings. A highlight of the album is 'The Farmers Have Gone East' which has gentle guitar and a mellotron (a tape keying based instrument which foreran synthesizers and was used a lot on progressive rock records). This brings flute and sustained chords which are different and very attractive. The song is a mournful lament to poverty in the farming community and sounds remarkably current in it's lyrics. 'Dark Side of the Moon' is a jaunty folk guitar strummer and doesn't live up to it's title but this is redressed by 'Keys of Canterbury' which brings the traditional starkly up to date. The fairly short album is completed by the title song which has a sweet melody and an air of the wandering traveler. A classic song on which to finish a beguiling album. It was briefly reissued on CD by Vinyl Tap records in Yorkshire UK and is well worth looking out for.


Blogger Laruchis said...

Thanks for another Great post!! ... and another ... and another.
Your choices are real gems.
Some artists I already knew ... some others it's wonderful to discover.
I do appreciate.

12 September, 2006 21:13  
Blogger newelectricmuse said...

Some good songs and nice arrangements on this album; her voice is quite good (but a little "stiff" if you know what I mean). However she must have regretted "Nasty Spider" as soon as the album came out - if not, she should have!

16 September, 2006 03:05  
Anonymous Scion said...

Lovely album, with a great sense of humour - "Nasty Spider" was done EXACTLY as it was needed to have been!
Excellent voice and a good choice of material. She should have done more during the period.

08 November, 2006 23:38  
Anonymous Amie Varney said...

Can you beleive Miriam came to perform at my school yesterday! i was shocked, she is still performing today. she just came and knocked on our school door and perform for about 30 of us!

18 May, 2007 01:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

better remove the file if you want to give chances to the musicians and underground labels, or leave it to only samples, when an album is available on reissue. And it is, with a first edition on Vinyl Tab (now maybe sold out), and a new ressue on Mother Earth :


17 February, 2008 22:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I played on this album with Mim in 1977. We've just finished a new album -the first in 32 years!- and details will be posted up on Mim's MySpace site in the next week.

Best wishes,

09 September, 2009 00:24  

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