Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tea and Symphony "Jo Sago" (UK Prog-Folk 1970)

A progressive outfit from Birmingham who played some of the most esoteric and experimental music released on the Harvest label. They had some similarities with Principal Edwards Magic Theatre insofar as their act was a sort of travelling theatre incorporating music, drama and mime. They followed the above 45 with an album of interesting material which utilised a diverse range of instruments and some attractive vocal harmonies. They were assisted on this effort by members of Bakerloo and Locomotive. This is a pandemonium of wilful, oblique and obscure tunes, all filled with a manic musical magic that will either appall or take you by storm. Improbable instrumental combinations and unexpected barbed-wire dissonances are treated with excellent musical craftmanship. There is no sloppiness like Dr. Strangely Strange, nor any tendency to get mystical like The Incredible String Band. Instead the madness is musically and lyrically defined, which makes this album obligatory to anyone into this kind of style. A title like "Maybe My Mind (With Egg)" speaks for itself.

The follow-up, "Jo Sago", was every bit as adventurous as their debut. The side-long title cut was an interesting attempt to relate the problems of a young Caribbean jazz musician living in Birmingham, but it pales in the company of the short tracks on the other side. These are more in the vein of the first album, but even better - ranking as among the best British acid-folk cuts. Sadly it was a bit too esoteric for wide public consumption and only sold a few hundred copies. It is now one of the label's rarest and most sought-after items. Both albums are recommended. The group split not long after its release but vocalist James Langston later resurfaced in the short-lived heavy rock outfit Mean Street Dealer in 1979.

4 Comments:

Blogger Eerowen said...

Oooo, thanks, Lizardson! Looking forward to this.

fwiw, folks can still grab our post of the first Tea & Symphony record, Asylum for the Musically Insane, over on Grown So Ugly.

13 October, 2006 09:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this!,
Been looking for it for ages, I have the "Asylum" cd, but as far as I know this follow-up has never been issued on cd, and goes for £100+ for the vinyl on ebay!

Great stuff

12 December, 2006 22:10  
Anonymous Aggeliki said...

Hello,

Please be as kind as to repost Tea and Symphony "Jo Sago". Thank you very much indeed!

25 May, 2007 04:01  
Anonymous Aggeliki said...

Thanks again!

25 May, 2007 15:20  

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