Saturday, September 30, 2006

Boys of the Lough

"Boys of the Lough" 1972
"Second Album" 1973

Boys of the Lough are one of the past masters of celtic music, combining members from several celtic traditions with a long history; where other celtic groups last a few years, the Boys are now in their third decade and retain two of their earliest members. Like that other long-running act the Chieftans, their music tends to the formal; impeccable technique and sensitivity, with large, sometimes classical-style arrangements, and very tight ensemble playing. They lack the fire and roughness of other groups; the overall feeling is of a group of skilled, well-integrated musicians playing together for the pure pleasure of it.

The history of the Boys has several twists and turns. The group was formed in 1967, as a trio of Cathal McConnell, Tommy Gunn of Fermanagh and Robin Morton from Portadown. Tommy Gunn later dropped out and the remaining duo recorded "An Irish Jubliee" in 1969. At the sametime, Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and singer/guitarist Mike Whelans were playing on the Scottish folk circuit. The two duos met up at the Falkirk folk festival where they played together and some time later, in 1971 came together for good. Dick Gaughan of Leith replaced Mike in 1972 and this lineup recorded the first 'official' group album in 1972.

Dick, in turn, left in 1973 and was replaced by Dave Richardson of Northumberland, bringing in new instruments including, cittern, banjo and mandolin. This lineup continued for several year, touring widely in Europe and America and releasing 6 albums, two of them recorded live. Live at Passim's was recorded at Passim's in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Wish You Were Here comes from a tour of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Robin Morton left in 1979 and was replaced with Dave Richardson's brother, Tich, on guitar. Tich was killed in a road accident in late 1983. After some time, the band came together again with new members Christy O' Leary and John Coakley and have kept that lineup ever since.

Aly Bain: Fiddle
Dick Gaughan: Vocal, Guitar (1st album)
Cathal McConnell: Vocal, Flute, Whistle
Robin Morton: Vocal, Concertina, Bodhran
Dave Richardson: Mandolin, Banjo, Cittern (2nd album)
Producer: Bill Leader

A present from Lost In Tyme

Tir Na Nog "Hibernian"
Live at Hibernian, Birmingham 1995

Reviewer: A music fan
Leo O'Kelly and Sonny Condell recorded this live in 1995 at the Hibernian in Birmingham . There is something of a health warning on the inner sleeve on sound, but the songs are almost manslaughtered by the low quality master tapes.
Out of the twelve songs performed 'Time is like a Promise' and 'So Freely' deliver romantic medieval imagery. Leo O'Kelly's 'Venezuela' has since become his signature tune. The flamenco- style guitar in tandem with the haunting lyrics transport the listener far across the North Atlantic Ocean to the setting of a peasant village in the Black and White TV documentary somewhere in the misty seventies that inspired this melody.

'Two White Horses' makes the new listener believe that a modern version of Simon and Garfunkel is now hitting the new millenium. Some of the other tracks remind one of those love dirges from the dust bowl of Woody Guthrie's 1950's America.

01. Time Is Like A Promise
02. When I Came Down
03. Love Is Like A Violin
04. Someone To Dance With
05. So Freely
06. Driving

07. Venezuela
08. Down In The City
09. Teeside
10. Looking Up
11. Two White Horses
12. Bluebottle Stew

Friday, September 29, 2006

Requested
Michael Chapman "Rainmaker" 1969

In 1969 British singer/songwriter Michael Chapman took the U.K.'s folk-rock world by surprise with his debut album, Rainmaker, on the Harvest label. In an era when each week garnered a new surprise in the music world, gathering serious and widespread critical acclaim wasn't easy, and finding a buying public near impossible. Rainmaker showcases a new talent who holds nothing back for himself. Every songwriting principle and trick, killer guitar riff, and songwriting hook in his bag makes an appearance here (something he would never do again). As a result, there are several truly striking things about the album that makes it stand out from the rest of the Brit folk-rock slog from the late '60s. One of them is Chapman's guitar playing. A true stylist in his own right, he holds a middle line between John Martyn and Bert Jansch with the provocative electric rock funkiness of Martyn juxtaposed against the rock solid folk traditional so wonderfully espoused by Jansch. Another is Chapman's lean, carved, sleek lyrical style, preferring the starkness of poetry to the lush elements of the song styles usually found on records of this type. Both are put to fine use on the opener, "It Didn't Work Out," a gorgeous broken love ballad with a philosophical bent, along with Chapman's doleful resigned vocal; the electric guitars cascade over fingerpicked acoustics, and acoustic and electric basses -- courtesy of Rick Kemp and Danny Thompson. Here, the old-English melody style was welded to a rock backbeat and fused into a whole, rhythmic, elegant, but sparse tale of broken love. The fiery emotions were carried through the measures by Chapman's tumultuous guitar leads. On the title track, an instrumental with thunderstorm sound effects, the weave between electricity and natural sound grows tighter. When playing in traditional or blues styles, such as the dark, menacing folk-blues of "No One Left to Care," Chapman fuses the rock pulse to the folk or blues song, open-tuning his guitars to such a degree that drones created multiple tones and a solid bottom for his voice to pounce down upon. They also create a sense of emotional honesty not so prevalent on the scene at the time -- artists were given to interpret old songs with an air of academic distance -- Chapman chews his words and spits them out while rifling off guitar riffs at every turn that are as gnarly and venomous as anything by Richard Thompson at the time. Not to mention the stunning instrumental "Thank You, P.K., 1944," with its silvery 12-string work that turns the tonal qualities of the instrument inside out so completely you could swear there were three guitars players -- despite the fact that none of the guitar parts were overdubbed -- or the shimmering, high-whining slide work on the rock growler "Small Stones." The CD reissue contains five bonus tracks, a shorter single version of "It Didn't Work Out," and its B-side, "Mozart Lives Uptown," as well as a second part to that track, "On My Way Again," and the humorous but poignant "Bert Jansch Meets Frankenstein" (the latter three previously unreleased). As auspicious a debut as Rainmaker was for its fine songwriting, history has proved it to be more so because it's the only record in Chapman's distinguished catalog where he ever showcased his truly virtuosic talent as a guitarist. Why, is anybody's guess? ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
Requested
Friendsound "Joyride" (US Psych 1969)

Badcat Records:
The late 1960s seem to have found everyone in the music business trying to turn out something deep and meaningful. As such it's probably not much of a surprise that these former members of Paul Revere and the Raiders were doing the same thing. Still, anyone expecting to hear something in the Paul Revere, or Brotherhood vein in going to be in for one major shock.

Self-produced, 1969's "Friendsound" makes absolutely no attempt to go down the commercial road and to ours ears may deserve to be noted as one of the first real "jam" albums. It's also one of those rare instances where the liner notes are dead-on ... "A musical free-for-all ... The idea for Friendsound came to us when we were in the early stages of creating our first album. We rounded up all out musician friends in the area and headed for a recording studio to have a musical free-for-all." That pretty much says it all. Exemplified by material such as the title track and "Childhood's End", the six extended numbers were largely instrumental in nature. Credited as group compositions, songs such as "CHildsong" and "Empire of Light" are full of studio experimentation, including backward tapes, sound effects and acid-influenced ramblings. Raiders members Levin, Smith and Volk were too grounded in top-40 pop to totally abandon such concepts as rhythm and melody, but it's pretty clear late night parting imbued them with a lot more freedom and creative latitude than your typical Paul Revere and the Raiders session. Not for the faint of heart, or top-40 junkies, but worth checking out for the more adventuresome of you out there ...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stackridge

"Friendliness" 1972

Although The Man in the Bowler Hat is without question the most fully realized and lavishly produced (by George Martin) Stackridge album, most fans of the band would probably gravitate toward Friendliness as their favorite. Here can be found every quality that endeared the West Country five-piece to a loyal -- but never quite large enough -- following. There's Beatlesque melody, gently surreal humor, and considerable instrumental dexterity that ranged freely between the worlds of pop, folk, jazz, classical, and prog rock. The rollicking instrumental "Lummy Days" is a perfect scene-setter, with Mike Evans' violin and Mutter Slater's flute lyrical one moment and bucolic the next as the melody sweeps between hoedown, bolero, and Vaughn Williams -- all in less than four minutes. Next comes the weightless beauty of the title track, with James Warren's choirboy vocals multi-tracked to bewitching effect. That's followed, even more improbably, by the '30-style foppery of "Anyone for Tennis," and not long after by the Eastern-tinged "Syracuse the Elephant," at over eight minutes long and with Mellotron aplenty, clear evidence that Stackridge could have staked their share of the prog market if they could have kept a straight face long enough. But they couldn't, and to prove it, the next track is a piece of cod-reggae about a cow, called "Amazingly Agnes." In truth this and the heads-down, no-nonsense boogie "Keep on Clucking" (a whimsical diatribe against battery farming) always did sound like grudging concessions to commercialism, and decades later they still do. But the album finishes in triumph with the haunting "Teatime," arguably one of the most convincing fusions of folk, jazz, and classical music in the entire prog rock canon, with none of the ego-fuelled blowing that so discredited the genre. [The CD reissue contains three extra tracks, including the instrumental stage favorite "Purple Spaceships Over Yatton."] ~ Christopher Evans, All Music Guide


"Mr. Mick" 1976

Still riven by internal disputes that would even scupper the band's second coming 20 years later, Stackridge were at least boosted in 1976 by the return to the ranks of flutist and vocalist Mutter Slater and bassist Crun Walter -- though the talents of James Warren were still sorely missed. In fact it was Slater who dominated Mr. Mick, which took Stackridge away from the Zappa-ish tendencies of Extravaganza and back toward their Beatlesque roots. Unfortunately, 1976 was no time to be releasing a concept album, even one that had been chopped up and rendered meaningless by the record company, and Mr. Mick represented the point at which Stackridge finally succumbed to the allied forces of public indifference and punk. It's far from being their best album, but Mr. Mick still has considerable charm, once you get past the somewhat pointless cod-reggae version of the Beatles' "Hold Me Tight." This was ditched, however, when the band issued a revised edition of the album in 2000, complete with all the tracks that were excised first time around at the expense of Slater's story. Since several of these include long stretches of narration that quickly pall on repeated listening, this is one of those rare occasions when you feel a degree of sympathy for the record company. As for the story itself -- a "modern fairytale" about an old codger who visits a magic rubbish dump where all the discarded articles have a tale to tell -- as career advancement went, it was up there with Brian Wilson's Mount Vernon and Fairway. Nevertheless, "Fish in a Glass," "Steam Radio Song," and "The Slater's Waltz" all boast the kind of sumptuous pop melodies that first convinced George Martin to helm The Man in the Bowler Hat. ~ Christopher Evans, All Music Guide


"BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert" 1972-75

Recorded 21 July 1972 (2,3,5,6,7), 15 February 1973 (4 and 8) and 7 January 1975 (1, 9-13) at the Paris Theatre in London. Tracks 2-8: The 'original' lineup of Andy, James, Mutter, Mike, Billy & Crun. Track 1, 9-13: Andy, Mutter, Rod Bowkett, Keith Gemmell, Paul Karas, & Roy Morgan.

Tracks:
01. God Speed the Plough
02. Lummy Days
03. Teatime
04. Anyone for Tennis
05. Amazing Agnes
06. She Taught Me How to Yodel
07. 32 West Mall 1.56
08. Syracuse the Elephant
09. The Volunteer
10. Who's That up There with Bill Stokes
11. No One's More Important Than the Earthworm
12. The Galloping Gaucho
13. Dora the Female Explora

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Virginia Tree "Fresh Out" (UK Folk 1975)

Essentially the solo album from Ghost (UK) vocalist Shirley Kent, this 1975 offering is folkier in style and content, whilst still retaining the quirkiness of Ghost. With backing musicians including ex bandmates Paul Eastment and Terry Guy, this CD reissue comes with two bonus tracks.


01. Hiding There
02. In My Garden
03. Like Morning
04. Wicker Basket Weaver
05. I'm Glad There Is You
06. Make Believe Girl


07. Harlequin And Columbine
08. Comical Wise
09. Let Us Go Dancing
10. Fresh Out
11. I've Got To Get To Know You *
12. Forever A Willow *

"The Khalsa String Band" (US Folk 1973)

by canonical:
This is a really nice, mellow hippie/folk album. Information on the internet was scarce, so I'd be happy to learn more. From what I could gather, the Khalsa String Band was comprised of Sikh's living in America and Americans won over to the Yogi craze in the 70's. Almost everyone in the band has the last name "Singh", which lead me to believe this was going to be a citar-psych-affair. However, the instrumentation is very simple with just guitar, drums, bass, flute, and keyboards. In fact, there is pretty much zero Middle-Eastern influence in the music. Lyrically they are very spiritually inspired, though. I believe they put out 8 albums, this one being their first.

Download (re-post)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mandy Morton

Mandy Morton "Sea of Storms" 1980

Spriguns was now totally the vehicle of talented vocalist Mandy Morton. And the next step was only naturel, Spriguns did now only seem as being Mandy Morton with a backing band. And so she rebaptised Spriguns into Mandy Morton And Spriguns and made Magic Lady in 1978. Now performing only as Mandy Morton she recorded Sea Of Storms (commercially most successful album) in 1980. And then three years did pass until her six and final release: Valley Of Light. This album is the only one not to feature Mandy's husband Mike Morton, and so Mandy was now the only one who had been al the way from Jack With A Feather in 1975. After the album Mandy retired from music. The last three albums were recorded either for Polydor or Banshee.

More about Mandy Morton here: Click


Mandy Morton Band "Valley of Light" 1983

Album notes from the CD release of Valley Of Light by Mandy Morton Band:
Valley of Light was the last album recorded by the Mandy Morton Band and brought to a close eight years of recordings from a little known cassette called "Rowdy Dowdy Day" through the Decca, Polydor and Banshee years. Mandy and her various bands had made their mark in folk rock history and Valley Of Light was to be the sixth and last album. In fact the album was infact an afterthought. Mandy Morton's work had always been based on the darker side of life: Black magic, war and inevitably death. The subject matter had been accompanied by sombre hard riding rhythms that were very fashionable in the folk rock circles of the mid seventies. The Mandy Morton Band live were a quite different matter altogether "High Energy Rock Drama" as a Danish music paper once described them, and the MM Band audience also demanded a fair smattering of "Pop Folk" too and that's where "Valley Of Light" came in.By 1983 the band were playing almost exclusively in Scandinavia where they created almost a "Flower Power" revival. Mandy's songs reflected this carefree state and "Valley Of Light" was born. The album was virtually a live recording with very few overdubs or studio tricks and captured a side to Mandy Morton's music that only live audiences had enjoyed. The album was never released in Britain. It was thought that the material would be too much of a contrast in Mandy Morton's own words: "Light Years Away".
Graham Brook. (Transcribed by Jonas Juul)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Nick Drake "Guest Works" 1972

V.A. "Interplay One" (1972, UK Longman; LG 0582 24136)
Compiled By John Watts

Includes:
LP1 > Side 2 > Track 3:
I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again (traditional) 2:00
LP2 > Side 1 > Track 1:
Full Fathom Five (traditional, words by W. Shakespeare) 1:10
LP2 > Side 2 > Track 4:
With My Swag All On My Shoulder (traditional) 2:32

Note: Nick plays guitar on all three songs, supporting Vivienne Fowler on "I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again"and "Full Fathom Five" and Robert Kirby on "With My Swag All On My Shoulder", uncredited.


Mick Audsley "Dark and Devil Waters" (1972, UK Sonet; SON 641)

Includes:
The Commissioner, He Come (Mick Audsley) 2:46
Dark and Devil Waters (Mick Audsley) 3:00

Note: Nick plays rhythm guitar on both songs, uncredited

Download (all 5 tracks) re-post
"Miles Martin Folk Group" (UK 1971)

1971 super rare folk album by this UK folk trio originally released on the Amber label. Evocative male/female vocal folk with guitar, string bass, banjo, mandolin and whistle. Features some enchanting three part harmonies and cover versions such as "Leaves That Are Green" "October Song" (Incredible Stringband) and others. For fans of Oberon, Marie Celeste etc.

01. Leaves That Are Green
02. Polly Von
03. Kilfenora Jig
04. Ye Jacobites By Name
05. Once I Had A Sweetheart
06. Fast Freight
07. October Song
08. I Never Will Marry
09. Grandfather's Clock
10. Geordie
11. Gone The Rainbow
12. Sunday Rainbow

Back Cover: Click
The Humblebums "Open Up the Door"
(UK Folk-Rock, Baroque Pop 1970)

If you don't know what you're getting into here, the Humblebums' first album is culture shock a go-go. Billy Connolly, after all, is best-known as an extraordinarily hirsute comedian whose pop fame rests on a U.K. number one dismantling Tammy Wynette's "Divorce" and a follow-up mangling the Village People's "In the Navy." Then there's Gerry Rafferty, who we associate with gentle, catchy, soft folk-rock vibes like "Stuck in the Middle With You," "Star," and "Baker Street." But put them together in a single unit, and the pair is barely distinguishable. Barely. Seven songs apiece see Connolly touching at least a light vein of dry humor (his fine singing voice is more of a shock); "My Apartment" is a belicose take on Al Stewart's bedsitting-room phase and "Mother" is a wryly observed piece of childhood nostalgia which just happens to pack the kind of freakish guitar solo which wouldn't have disgraced Strange Fruit -- Still Crazy before all those years, indeed. But the mood is restrained, the sentiments are sensible, and there's a not a wee swearie in sight. Rafferty, too, is self-absorbed (although that's probably not a surprise) with songs which wander sadly around the backyards of love, kicking cans and wondering where the time all went. "Keep It to Yourself" ranks alongside any of his best-known compositions and "My Singing Bird" is up there with some of his softest. The important thing is, at no point does one listen to the record and start imagining chalk and cheese. Open up the Door is not an album which will set your life afire; rather, it's gentle, warm, and unassuming -- a lovely listen in the wee small hours. And there's not a saxophone solo in sight. ~ Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thanks for the info, Vinylhed
Fotheringay vs. Scissor Sisters

e-mail from a visitor, Vinylhed:
Is it just me Lizard, or does this Scissor Sisters promo shot look a tad like the Fotheringay album cover?

I don't know how this promo shot was taken. But I like comparing these kind of things. How do you think?

*I added a little arrangement to Scissor Sisters' promo.

John Martyn / Nick Drake

BBC "Saturday Live" 25.5.85
Interview with John Martyn (by Richard Skinner)
Download (re-post)

You can read this interview here: The Nick Drake Files
The Druids "Burnt Offering" (UK Folk 1970)

The Druids were a superb acoustic folk quintet who started a little too late to achieve major popularity, amid the presence of outfits like Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. Formed as a trio in 1969 by ex-pop musician John Adams (vocals, mandolin, bass), and folk singers Keith Hendrick (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Mick Hennessy (vocals, bass), the group played its first gig at the Manchester Sports Guild in November of that year. A few months later, itinerant fiddler Dave Broughton joined them, and in 1970, while appearing in a documentary film about English folk musicians, they met fifth member Judi Longden, who added her voice to the proceedings.

With their reliance on acoustic instruments, the Druids were far more tradition-based than either Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span. Their repertory consisted of traditional English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish songs arranged for four voices, and their music had a pleasingly archaic feel, not resembling folk-rock at all. If anything, they sounded more like the kind of outfit that A.L. Lloyd or Ralph Vaughan Williams (editors of the definitive collection of English folk songs) would have approved of, without a trace of uncalled for elegance or pretentiousness.

The group broke up in the early 1970s, and Adams later turned up as a member of the group Muckram Wakes and the New Victory Band. They left behind a small but pleasing recorded legacy, contemporary with the best years of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span but radically conservative in its approach to the music. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

Sample pic: Click

Download (re-post)

Important: This album is missing Irish ballad "The Castle of Dramore(Dromore)". Track.6 is actualy "Hunting the hare/Exile's jig".
Please help us if you have!

Archie Fisher (Scottish Folk)

"Archie Fisher" 1968
"Orfeo" 1970

Although Archie Fisher is a legendary figure in the Scottish folk music world -- everybody's favorite singer and an enormously influential presence both musically and philosophically -- he has remained largely unknown to the greater pop music mainstream. While the mainstream's a poorer place for that, one gets the idea it suits Archie Fisher just fine.

Fisher was born into a family of semi-professional musicians and learned to play the guitar at a young age. Fisher and his sister Ray formed a skiffle group in the mid-'50s, as most musically inclined young Britons did around that time. Eventually, the siblings formed a vocal duo, releasing their debut album Far Over the North in 1963. In the tradition of the Coppers and the Watersons, Archie and Ray joined with their parents and sister Cilla and her husband Artie Tresize to form the Fisher Family. Playing both traditional material and Archie's own compositions, the Fisher Family were fixtures on the British folk circuit through the mid-'60s and released the album The Fisher Family in 1965. The family group split up in 1966 when Ray married and moved to London and Archie began his solo career.

Fisher's first album, Archie Fisher, was released in 1968. Around that time, Fisher also began his decades-long association with the BBC; Fisher wrote original songs for BBC documentaries on subjects like rural island communities in the Hebrides, and also appeared on radio and television music programs with regularity. Eventually, Fisher began working regularly with the BBC as a producer of radio documentaries and features; in the '80s, he inherited the series Traveling Folk, which he now produces and hosts, from the previous presenter Robin Hall. Fisher's recorded output, for someone with such a long and prolific career, is surprisingly sparse, consisting of a handful of solo albums and a live duo album with Canadian fiddler Garnet Rogers. Fisher has been much more active both as a live performer at festivals and concerts around the world (he directed the much-respected Edinburgh Folk Festival from 1988 to 1992) and as a producer for other artists, including several albums by the duo of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy and the phenomenal group Silly Wizard. ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Video

Bridget St. John "Want To Be With You"
Old Grey Whistle Test, BBC, 1974













Text by ripper:
To mark the anniversary of John Peel's last show, BBC 4 broadcast a program titled "John Peel: In Session Tonight". The show featured a number of artists who had been associated with Peel at one time or another. Many of the clips came from the Old Grey Whistle Test dvds, so couldn't be torrented here. There are some others which I'm not 100% sure whether they have been released or not. This all too brief clip I am confident has not been released.

Dark, smokey voice beautifully in tune and you'll touch the melodic tip of what's so gorgeous about British folkie Bridget St. John. Originally Bridget recorded for John Peel's short-lived Dandelion label [in the late 60s], which promptly gave her the well-deserved label of "chanteuse." Critical acclaim did not equal commercial success , and St. John seemed to vanish [in the mid to late 70s], only to re-emerge in the NYC area with some live performances [such as a Nick Drake Tribute Concert on 1999, and occasional shows since then]

Click picture for some more screenshots.

Descriptions:
Digital TV > DVD > TMPEGEnc MPEG Editor
Video : 4650 Kbps, 25.0 fps, 720x576 (16:9), MPG2
Audio: Dolby Digtal (AC-3), 48000 Hz Stereo 256 kbps

DL

Ian Matthews

"If You Saw Thro' My Eyes" (1971)
"If You Saw Thro' My Eyes - LIVE" (2003)


In late 1970, shortly after his band Matthews Southern Comfort hit number one in Great Britain with its version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," Ian Matthews decided that he needed more creative freedom and left for a solo career. The subsequent album, If You Saw Thro' My Eyes, his fourth and best release since leaving Fairport Convention in 1969, was recorded and released within the next few months. It also reunited him with former Fairport bandmates Sandy Denny, who had left the band in late 1969, and Richard Thompson, who would depart by the time of this album's release. Both would bring their distinctive personalities to the proceedings without ever overwhelming Matthews' own vision. As a bandleader and songwriter, Matthews' growth is quite evident here, guiding a stellar cast through seven excellent new originals and three well-chosen covers (also included is the a cappella "Hinge" and its instrumental reprise). Throughout, Matthews' sweet yet evocative tenor is perfect for the material, which succeeds in its blend of British and American folk, rock, and pop. Furthermore, he once again shows a keen eye for the work of others, while also proving his prowess as a first-rate interpretive singer. A pair of songs written by the late folksinger Richard Farina -- "Reno, Nevada" (resurrected from Ian's days with Fairport) and "Morgan the Pirate" -- are given fresh, inspired readings, highlighted by Thompson, Tim Renwick, and Andy Roberts' superb guitar interplay, providing a real folk-rock edge. But it's the beautiful, prayerlike title track that is the record's crowning moment. Joined simply by Denny's piano and breathtaking second vocal, along with a tasteful backwards guitar interlude by Renwick, Matthews' quiet plea for guidance is as moving and personal a song as he's ever recorded. A number of other highlights, such as "Hearts," "Southern Wind," "It Came Without Warning," and "You Couldn't Lose," make If You Saw Thro' My Eyes one of the best efforts by a Fairport alumnus. ~All Music Guide

32 years after its initial release, A funny thing happened on the Matthews tour 2003. The opportunity came up and the idea was fresh and the recording studio was available so this ground-breaking concept came to pass. Matthews and band recorded the entire album that we all know and love, "If You Saw Thro' My Eyes" - LIVE.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Matthews' Southern Comfort "Later That Same Year" (1971)

Matthews Southern Comfort plays music of the sort that is indispensable for those who own houses in the country with a fireplace and are the recipients of the affections of ladies who cook them organic dinners and wear their wild blonde manes in pigtails much of the time. If this kind of mellow tuneful close-harmony country-tinged polite rock appeals to you as much as it does to me, this band is very much up your alley.

Its heights aren't quite so giddy at the same time that its depths are deeper, but Later That Same Year, Matthews Southern Comfort's third album, nevertheless succeeds at the difficult task of worthily succeeding Second Spring, which to my mind was 1970's premier undiscovered marvel.

As did Spring, Later contains: a couple of light-hearted and sprightly just-for-fun rollicks, Goffin/King's "To Love" and someone named Alan Alderson's "Mare Take Me Home"; a couple of pleasant treatments of currently fashionable composers' works, Jesse Winchester's "Brand New Tennessee Waltz" and Neil Young's "Tell Me Why"; and a generous earful of enchanting low-key laments featuring Ian Matthews' own delicate, almost angelic tenor, all of it played most sympathetically and deliciously sung, frequently in three- or four-part harmony.

As guitarist Carl Barnwell's "Sylvie" (an exceedingly clammy affair whose Andrews Sisterish refrain in particular is gorgeous enough to gag on) is indisputably the albums' nadir, so are his other two contributions, "Jonah" and "For Melanie" (whose lack of musical cohesion is more than made up for by its intriguing lyrics), its twin peaks, with Matthews' own exquisitely-textured "And Me" standing only slightly less lofty.

Listen to either Second Spring or this album and you'll join me in fervently hoping that Matthews' recent surprising departure from Southern Comfort (which, double-surprisingly, occurred while they were being most heatedly romanced by a variety of record companies) will result in twice, and not half, as much such delightful music as theirs being made available for us later this same year and thereafter. ~John Mendelsohn, Rolling Stone, 4/15/71
Gary Farr "Strange Fruit"
(UK Folk/Rock/Blues/Swamp 1970)

Farr, who had started recording in the mid-'60s as a journeyman British R&B/rock singer, showed signs of substantial growth by the time of this 1970 album. He was at this point writing most of his material, sometimes in a somber folk-rock-ish vein with echoes of the likes of Tim Hardin (without as much sentiment) or Roy Harper (without the craziness). Yet his talent did not quite cross the line from glimmers of promise to notable artistry. Some of this is run-of-the-mill bluesy rock in a sort of Band-like or sub-Rolling Stones Let It Bleed vein, and while the moody songs are nice and convincingly performed in his yearning voice, they're not outstanding. He would have done well to fully pursue the folkiest aspects of his work, as heard in such acoustic guitar-dominated tracks as "Down Among the Dead Men" and "In the Mud." The supporting players include three members of Mighty Baby and, in a little-known session appearance, Richard Thompson on lead guitar. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
Requested...
Kazuki Tomokawa "Umi Shizuka, Koe(Tamashii) wa Yami"
(Japanese Avant-folk, Acid-folk 1981)

Kazuki Tomokawa is a prolific Japanese acid-folk singer, poet, and often described as a "screaming philosopher" due to his idiosyncratic singing style.
"Umi Shizuka, Koe wa Yami" (Sea is silent, voice/soul is suffering) is one of his most important work.





personnel:
Kazuki Tomokawa: vo, acoustic guitar
Toshiaki Ishizuka: drums, percussion
Kyoko Furuie: piano, keyboard, chorus
Kazumi Kiyono: bass
Masashi Kikuchi: Shakuhachi, Yokobue
Yukihisa Yumiba: Biwa
(and many guest players)
Produced by Katsuhiko Hasegawa

Tracks:
01. Kanata (The Other Side)
02. Kami ni Nare (Become a God)
03. Issai Gassai Yo-mo Sue-da (It's the End of the World at All)
04. Satsujin to Ao Tenjyo (Homicide and Clear Blue Sky)
05. Chinsetsu-Tange-Sazen
06. Santouka-yo
07. Nah Umi (Hey, Sea)
08. Mochibeni no Hana (Flowers of Mochibeni)
09. Ki-gi wa Haru (Trees are Spring)
10. Kugai Sah

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree (UK Folk)

"The Mildew Leaf" (2004)













Review by Mark Coyle:
Released by Deserted Village who have no contact with the artists, this album is an enigma. It documents travels by a UK folk band around the UK, northern France, Channel Islands and the isles and captures their performances in both English and Gaelic.

It's a highly traditional sounding release but one with a feeling of strangeness running through it's heart as all the best folk music does. There is a feeling of authenticity, of getting back to the music's source, of pretence stripped away. Those searching for lost music that carries on their enjoyment of The Wicker Man soundtrack would do well to look here, the same feeling of strangeness and innocence rises amongst the songs.

'In Aimsir Bhaint an Fheir' introduces banjo and guitar supporting a heady baritone male vocal singing in Gaelic. A Gaelic pipe or possibly flute adds counter melody over the top and gradually accordion is woven in. It's already a magical concoction, enticing and vibrant in its mixture of old and new. As more countermelodies are added on piano and guitar, it swells to become a beautiful and moving ode. This gives way to a communal non-accompanied version of the traditional song 'Spencer the Rover' and then into 'La Bon Marain', a deeply evocative folk ballad starting with sultry flute and guitar. This song has excellent female harmony vocals over the male baritone lead that further enhances the atmosphere.

'The Blackthorn Tree' is a banjo and massed vocal song before the unaccompanied vocal of 'Twa Corbies'. 'Is Lomaidh Coisceim Fads' is another Gaelic ballad with haunting siren harmony vocals. As you listen, you feel some connection to something unknown is being made; it's a haunting listen. 'Sweet Thames Flow Softly' is a song in the round of vocals and sounds like a hundred years old field recording. Peter Ackroyd, the author would adore this seemingly magical invocation of the river's powers in support of love.

Last song 'Time To Go Home' comes too soon and sounds the most conventional of them all at first, although of course this is relatively. Here the sound is like a forgotten seventies soundtrack, the group are together, massed male and female vocals, horns calling, whip rhythms, hand drums, swirling fiddles, nature animals. It moves from delicate ballad to ritual incantation in thirty seconds and ends the album on a somewhat unsettling note.

This is wonderful, important music, the kind we established this site for. It's very inexpensive and absolutely essential for fans of the genre.


"The Cat's Melodeon" (2005 EP)

And this 3inch CDR has all the magic, truly there. Based upon traditionals mostly, I think, the music is worked out with in a way I've rarely heard before. There are often comparissons possible with a group like C.O.B., especially through the melancholy, warm male voice, the banjo which plays its own melodic layers, the sweet and sad flute, and the female vocal arrangements, which are especially rewarding and original on “Tralawney”. The arrangements are never overloaded but always expressed very effectively and with some flow, with some vocal arrangements that are completing the warm singing, some 12 string guitar, and melancholic finishing touches by flute or violin. A must-have.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Colin Scot" (UK Folk-Rock 1971)

In later years, this singular set would leave a new generation of classic rock fans scratching their heads. Just what were so many superstars doing backing this unknown singer? However, in 1970, Colin Scot was at least as famous as any of those now legendary names that guested on this his debut solo album, with the singer/songwriter regularly packing the house for his frequent live shows. Of course, those gigs brought Scot into the orbits of a host of other folk-tinged groups from the day, but it seems to have been producer John Anthony who brought most of this crew together. This included Brinsley Schwarz of the eponymous band, Genesis' Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, Van Der Graaf Generator's Peter Hammill and David Jackson, King Crimson's Robert Fripp, then-Strawbs' organist Rick Wakeman, and his future bandmate Yes frontman Jon Anderson (the pair met at these sessions), and the list goes on and on. Considering all the talent and egos in the studio, producer Anthony must have run an extremely tight ship, for he never allows any of the virtuosos to get in Scot's way or their excesses to overwhelm his songs. Nevertheless, the musicians left their marks, be it the shimmering guitars on "Do the Dance Now, Davey" that foreshadow the ones that strew glitter across Genesis' "The Music Box," or the quintessential Fripp chords that empower "Here We Are in Progress." "The Boatman" is buffeted by gusting wind, lapping waves, and exquisite guitar work, "Lead Us" sweeps listeners along with a choir of singers, while "Hey! Sandy," features some of the angriest acoustic guitars one's ever likely to encounter. All four of those songs were well-chosen covers, while the country-tinged "My Rain," the brooding "Take Me Away," and the psychedelic laced "Nite People" showcased the strength of Scot's own pen. The finished album was handed to United Artists, at the time, a relatively new and adventurous label, and upon release sold respectably in its day, but has cried out for reissue since. Boosted by a quartet of alternate takes of album tracks, the return of Colin Scot will be welcomed by prog and folk fans around the world. ~ Jo-Ann Greene, All Music Guide

In Gowan Ring

Led by a mysterious Utah-born troubadour named B'eirth, In Gowan Ring formed in the early '90s, featuring a rotating cast of musicians fusing elements of traditional European folk music with heavy doses of psychedelia. After appearing on a series of compilations, In Gowan Ring's debut album, Love Charms, appeared in 1994 on the World Serpent label. Three years later, The Twin Trees was released on World Serpent, an album that sounded like an updated version of the Incredible String Band or Pentangle. The Glinting Spade, released in 1999 on the Bluesanct label, saw In Gowan Ring making more prominent use of drone and trance music. ~ Jason Nickey, All Music Guide

"The Glinting Spade" 1999

In Gowan Ring is one of those bands that I first read about a long time ago in the Soleilmoon catalog. That was back during my "World Serpent" phase, when I was first getting to know the works of David Tibet, Douglas P, Steven Stapleton, et al. Now, listening to "The Glinting Spade" several years later, I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to be any sort of phase to enjoy this album.

Immediate comparisons to Current 93 (in their "apocalyptic folk" mode) come to mind, but In Gowan Ring is much more listenable. Granted, the two bands share a lot of musical common ground. Gently strummed acoustic guitars, odd percussion, and a sort of hazy, droning psychedelia that just hovers in the background. The most striking difference between the two groups are the vocals. Even if you think that David Tibet is a lyrical genius, you must admit that his voice is definitely an acquired taste. On the other hand, the vocals of B'eirth are downright lovely. Soft and lulling, his wispy vocals flow right along with the music. Often layered behind walls of droning, shifting sounds and gentle acoustic guitars, he sounds as if he's coming from some far-off dreamland, or from some perpetual state of half-sleeping, half-waking.

Lyrically, the album reads like some sort of bizarre waking dream. On "Two Wax Dolls", B'eirth sings "Two wax dolls, blue-yellow braided/wrapped up in scrolls, splayed into folds/with limbs two and four, face within faces/that scatter in hews of gleaming gambol". On paper, it sounds mighty awkward. But listening to it sung by B'eirth, the lyrics sound perfectly natural, as if they were the only words that could go with his voice and the music.

In Gowan Ring weaves a lovely sound throughout the album. It's psychedelic and folksy, but in all the right ways. Some of the tracks tend to go a bit too long, such as the meandering, aimless "Milk Star", but for the most part, the album is an enchanting journey. And for an album with such New Age-y titles as "In The Dream Of The Queen Bow Star", there's absolutely no such nonsense. There's a fragility throughout many of the songs, helped, no doubt, by B'eirth's gentle vocals. At times, it sounds like Nick Drake if he was found wandering around a Renaissance Fair as an astral projection ("A Bee At The Dolmen's Bell"). At other times, it sounds like The Verve if they'd been a madrigal choir.

If you're normally put off by words like "psychedelic" and "trippy", associating them with bands whose music consists of 15 minute organ solos, pseudo-mystical references, and an overwhelming need to be taken more seriously than they should be, relax. There's no such pretension on "The Glinting Spade". Even the trippiest, shroomiest sections of the album have a warmth and humanity about them. On songs such as "Two Wax Dolls" and "A Bee At The Dolmen's Bell" In Gowan Ring's music becomes truly otherworldly. ~Opus


"Hazel Steps Through a Weathered Home" 2002

In Gowan Ring's B'eirth is certainly an effusive fellow. If the "fever dream by way of Austin Osman Spare" nature of his lyrics wasn't evidence enough, just wait until you see how In Gowan Ring's self-styled "Conductor" describes his own music. For some, "Hazel Steps Through A Weathered Home" will merely be a spaced out folk album of gauzy acoustic guitars, Renaissance Fair backing bands, and B'eirth's fey vocals. However, it's obviously much more to him, a "liminal lucubration of specular poetry composed within a euphonious and eclectic arrange of acoustic, archaic, and homespun instruments."

I guess that's as good a definition as any, especially given that "lucubration" means "pedantic or pretentious writing". And "pretentious" is a pretty good start to describing "Hazel Steps...". However, B'eirth pours himself so completely into his pretenses that they contain his whole heart and soul, as hinted at by "lucubration"'s other definition: "laborious study or meditation".

For me, "psychedelic folk" has all sorts of pretense, be it the seriously silly lyrics or the music, which sounds like it was written by people who sincerely wish they'd been gypsies in a previous life (or residents of Middle-Earth). But confound it all if In Gowan Ring actually takes that fairly ephemeral genre and provides it with as concrete an example as possible (even more completely, I'd argue, than movers and shakers within the genre such as Current 93). In Gowan Ring's "The Glinting Spade" is as beautiful as any psych-folk album can be without completely materializing. By it's very nature, there must be an otherworldly quality to the music, or else it ceases being, well, psychedelic.

"Hazel Steps Through A Weathered Home" lacks many of the droney, ambient elements that were so entrancing about "The Glinting Spade". As a whole, it's a more stripped down effort. However, that doesn't really diminish the album's preternatural feel. Much of that is due to B'eirth's vocals and lyrics. B'eirth's wispy voice is always barely there, as if it's made of little more than spiderwebs and moonlight.

But such a voice would be useless without equally obtuse lyrics, which In Gowan Ring has in spades. B'eirth sees no problem in singing lines like "Petals of jasmine, anemones in a water bowl float/How grace arranged the chance array come eventide's shifting glow" or "Shimmers splendent merge, laden tendrils waver/Descending drops of water disperse in lucid layer" with all due gravity. Don't be surprised if you feel like you need a refresher course on Romantic poetry before delving into B'eirth's flowery prose.

As I said before, "Hazel Steps Through A Weathered Home" is missing some of "The Glinting Spade"'s more atmospheric elements. However, that only reveals the lovely arrangements of B'eirth and his various conspirators for all to see. Acoustic guitars are eminent, plucking out delicate melodies upon melodies. But citterns, cimboloms, timbrels, flutes, and other "acoustic, archaic, and homespun instruments" all make their appearance. The songs are much starker and darker than on "The Glinting Spade", but they also have more gravity and substance.

"Hazel Steps"'s is about as solemn as the album gets, like Nick Drake on a funeral march set to a bodhran beat. Meanwhile, "The Wind That Cracks The Leaves" feels caught in a slowly constricting web, an interplay of picked acoustic guitars and a chorus of B'eirths all caught in a slow, downward spiral. The lovely thing is that despite its pretensions, or more likely because of them, that spiral can easily ensnare the unsuspecting listener in its magical folds. ~Opus

http://www.ingowanring.com/LuneMailOrderFrameset.htm

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bridget St. John

Thank You For... (1972)

St. John has a small legion of fans willing to do battle for their hero, but to most she sounds like a pleasant, secondary British folk-rock artist of the early 1970s. Those impressions won't be changed by this, her third album, mixing low-key originals with covers of songs by Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly, as well as one of her most popular tracks, an interpretation of the traditional folk tune "Lazarus." Simply put, St. John doesn't come within bow-and-arrow range of Sandy Denny or Maddy Prior. She favors a low, slightly husky delivery that sometimes brings to mind what Marianne Faithfull might have sounded like in the late 1970s had Faithfull's voice lowered naturally, instead of being ravaged. Reserve can be effective, but it sounds like St. John would need to be roasted over an open flame before her temperature rose. The album was reissued on CD in 1995, with the addition of eight bonus tracks from a live performance in 1972. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Buy
Robin Scott "Woman From the Warm Grass"
(UK Acid-Folk 1969)

Robin Scott's 1969 album Woman from the Warm Grass was very much in the mold of many British folk-ground artists of the time who were gingerly making the transition to a folk-rock sound. In fact, in material and presentation, Scott was fairly similar in feel to a few other artists that producer Sandy Roberton worked with, including Al Jones, Keith Christmas, and Shelagh McDonald. Scott's vocals and songs were earnest and verbose, with the reflective fragile moodiness (and yearning, sometimes florid romanticism) found in many British folk/folk-rock singer/songwriters of the era, from Al Stewart and Donovan on down. As artists in this genre go, Scott's pleasant and reasonably interesting, though not distinguished. He and Roberton do vary the arrangements, sometimes opting for just solo acoustic guitar and voice, at others using full rock backing from the band Mighty Baby. Generally, the unplugged tracks work better; "The Sound of Rain," with subdued orchestration backing the acoustic guitar, has the sort of narrative-oriented mystical acid folk pioneered by Donovan, while "Song of the Sun" has the poetic wordy gray melancholy very particular to this period of British folk. So there's a lot here for listeners who dig this particular micro-style in general, with the notable exception of an overwhelmingly strong vocal or songwriting individuality, though Scott's likable enough. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dando Shaft

"Dando Shaft" (aka. "An Evening With Dando Shaft") 1970

On their first album, Dando Shaft came off as something like a more folk-oriented, yet also more hippie-oriented Pentangle. The percussive pulse of Roger Bullen's bass in particular gave much of the material a rhythmic swing that helped it stand apart from traditional folk, as did original material based around images of nature: rain, wind, leaves, the dawn, flowers, the country, and so on. The singing and songwriting betrayed a notable debt to Bert Jansch, though with a more whimsical bent that Jansch usually allowed. Their greatest assets, certainly in terms of putting their own stamp on a sound that bore close resemblance to aspects of Pentangle (and, more distantly, the Incredible String Band), were the colors added by multi-instrumentalist Martin Jenkins' mandolin, flute, and violin. As progressive folk that was pastoral in mood and not quite folk-rock, it was pleasant but ultimately not as distinguished or interesting as their unavoidable reference point, Pentangle. The Pentangle comparisons would if anything multiply when they added a female vocalist, Polly Bolton, for their next two albums. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

01 - Rain
02 - Cold Wind
03 - September Wine
04 - Cat Song
05 - In The Country
06 - Drops Of Brandy
07 - End Of The Game
08 - Lazily Slowly


"Dando Shaft" 1971

The major change on Dando Shaft's second album was the addition of singer Polly Bolton, whose lead and harmony singing added considerable color and appeal to the group's vocal blend. The band might have been edging just a bit closer to the folk-rock mainstream, too, with a more standard rhythmic and melodic base to some of the tunes. Generally, though, they remained in the same mindset as they were on their 1970 debut: just barely rock-influenced folk, similar to Pentangle but folkier, and given to a greater emphasis on mandolin, violin, and unusual tempos. While something like "Whispering Ned" sounded as traditional as British folk-rock got, other songs nodded a bit toward the more wistful romantic pop song tradition, like "Sometimes," "'Til the Morning Comes," and "Waves Upon the Ether." The nature imagery of the debut was still present, too, if not as prominent, in songs like "Riverboat" (one of the highlights, with its lovely Bolton vocal). ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

01 - Coming Home To Me
02 - Sometimes
03 - Waves Upon The Ether
04 - Riverboat
05 - Dewet
06 - Railway
07 - Whispering Ned
08 - Pass It On
09 - Kalyope Driver
10 - Till The Morning Comes
11 - Prayer


"Lantaloon" 1972

Dando Shaft's third album wasn't all that different from its predecessor, Dando Shaft: rollicking folk-rock tunes that were more folk than rock, heavy on rhythmic interplay among mandolin, guitar, and violin. Nor was it at times all that different from Pentangle, particularly on one of the best tracks, "Road Song," which sounded quite a bit like some of the more up-tempo Pentangle tunes on which Bert Jansch took lead vocals; "The Black Prince of Paradise" trod pretty far into Pentangle territory too. And as with Pentangle, the woman singer, Polly Bolton, was the best of the vocalists, though the male singers weren't bad and served as good counterpoints. Perhaps their songwriting and instrumental approach broadened just a bit to take in more pop and rock influences, with occasional flute (and, on "The Magnetic Beggar," harpsichord). In all, though it's not as original as the best British folk-rock of the period, it's very well played and fairly well written, guaranteed to appeal to fans of bands like Pentangle, to restate the inevitable comparison. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

01 - Road Song
02 - Is It Me
03 - Down To You, Up To Me
04 - Melancholic Fervour ( It's Only Us )
05 - It Was Good
06 - Harp Lady
07 - The Black Prince Of Paradise
08 - When I'm Weary
09 - I Heard Somewhere
10 - Magnetic Beggar
11 - Don't Forget The Animal *Bonus
12 - Sun Clog Dance *Bonus
13 - Lullaby *Bonus
Saffron Summerfield
"Salisbury Plain" & "Fancy Meeting You Here!"
(UK Folk, SSW 1974, 1976)

Saffron Summerfield started singing around the London folk clubs in the early seventies. She was soon invited to join Fairport Convention spin-off band Trader Horne and although the group recorded several tracks for Dawn records the album was never released. Trader Horne gigged in London and France and recorded John Peel's "Sounds of the Seventies" on the same show as rock band Free. Saffron remembers hearing Free's fans screaming so loudly outside the studio during rehearsals that she couldn't hear herself sing!

Trader Horne split up and Saffron continued her solo career. After several attempts at recording songs for several record companies including EMI getting her to record a 'pop' song called "The lonely Ones" she decided to produce her own record.

Mother Earth Records was set up and Saffron's first two albums were also leased to Polydor and Negram in Holland and Germany.

"Salisbury Plain"
"Fancy Meeting You Here!"
Now available on one CD reissue "The Early Years"

She gained considerable recognition in the UK , Europe and made several trips to The States.
After two decades of 'being on the road' Saffron decided to take a break from singing and studied photography at Central London Poly in the early nineties.

Download: Salisbury Plain (re-post)
Download: Fancy Meeting You Here! (re-post)

Folkal Point update

I got e-mail from site visitor Angel who has CD copy of this album.
Now, I've updated my old post to FULL album (256kbps) borrowed from his/her CD copy. Sound quality is pretty good!!

Click

Thank you very much, Angel !!
Please leave comment for Angel's great work!!
Pesented by Japanese visitor Bikyoran
V.A. "Lost Years In Labyrinth II" Belle Antique label sampler 1995

This is prog-rock compilation album from Japanese Belle Antique label. Featuring exclusive material of Alan Case (Holland), Bi Kyo Ran, Negasphere, Trembling Strain and Cinema.







1. Fast Asleep - Alan Case
2. Dark Nights - Alan Case
3. Double (Ni-Jyu-Jin-Kaku) - Bi-Kyo-Ran
4. No More Rainy Day - Negasphere
5. Music For Aerial Sepultura - Trembling Strain
6. Take (Bamboo) - Cinema

Alan Case:
born Ernst van der Kerkhof, is a multi-instrumentalist who's been making music since 1989. His material, similar to Kayak and The Alan Parsons Project, is basically good symphonic pop: a mixture of straightforward rock songs, dreamy ballads and lots of melodious, catchy tunes – some of them with a decidedly proggy flavour. Sadly, his solo work was completely ignored by the music industry in his native Holland and he ended up with a Japanese label who released several of his songs on compilation albums.

Bi-Kyo-Ran:
One of the most important Japanese Progressive Rock bands. Forming in the '70s, the legendary Bi-Kyo-Ran played with the bristling energy, intensity and aggression of King Crimson mainly on the "Red" era, then alternately delicate and pastoral, with ample use of mellotron. The guitar sounds like a Fripp clone, although sometimes it gains a bit in originality. Despite the obvious cloning, the music is very well executed, and to complete the picture, a violinist is also featured. They are still active and most recently released "Anthology Vol. 1", a re-recording and updating of their earliest and best tunes. It features guitarist and leader Kunio Suma and drummer Masaharu Sato. Dynamic and impressive.

Negasphere:
Negasphere was active during the mid 80's and a live set came out in 1991 titled Negasphere 1985-1986 which may remind of UK, Genesis, National Health, and even Zappa. The vocals are very affected, like fish or one of his many imitators. The recording is fairly substandard. Overall impression: Nothin' really special.

Trembling Strain:
Elemental progressive music made with diverse ethnic and hand-crafted instruments. led by the enigmatic Pneuma (clinical psychiatrist by day...), they're something like Japan's version of the Third Ear Band. more so than Ghost.

Cinema:
Cinema includes the keyboard player, guitarist and drummer from Fromage's final line-up, as well as bassist, violinist and a woman vocalist with operatic qualifications. The band features some rather unusual instruments like the ocarina, violin, cello and viola, apart from the more traditional ones used in progressive rock. These give the music a somewhat full of delicate melodies and refined arrangements, enhanced by slow and solemn rhythms. Cinema is a perfect example of the Cinema's "symphonic" talent and the sensitivity of Japanese Progressive Rock in general. Just a beautiful stuff.

Download (cover art included)

Ripped & uloaded by Japanese visitor 美鏡乱 (Bikyoran).
Please leave comments for his great work!

美鏡乱さん、ありがとーございました^ ^
Robin Williamson "Myrrh" (UK Folk 1972)

When the Incredible String Band's long strange trip began to show signs of discontent in 1971, both Mike Heron and Robin Williamson took it upon themselves to exorcise their angels/demons in the studio. Heron went first, choosing a more rock-oriented direction with Smiling Men With Bad Reputations, followed by Williamson, who took the ISB's pastoral British folk a step further with the truly sublime Myrrh. While the odd instrumentation and serpentine melodicism that fuel standout tracks like "Strings in the Earth and Air," "Will We Open the Heavens" and "Through the Horned Clouds" are oddly affecting, it's when Williamson strips away the layers that have kept so many potential fans from the much-needed repeated listens his compositions often require that his subtle genius is revealed -- "Dark Eyed Lady," with its weary, windswept romanticism and fluid acoustic guitar work is as heartbreaking as it is sparse. Fans flocked to Myrrh -- and for good reason -- as the ISB had been near their peak upon their dissolution, but Williamson's ten surprisingly accessible, yet brutally original odes to loves both earth-bound and divine blaze across the boundaries of British folk with such peaceful and uninhibited zeal that they manage to transcend the genre itself. ~ James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide
Planxty "The Well Below the Valley" (Irish Celtic Folk 1973)

Planxty begins its remarkable sophomore release The Well Below the Valley with the pipe-led "Cunla," an engaging round sung by founder Christy Moore. Impeccably played dance tunes, soulful laments, and rollicking narratives follow, allowing listeners access to the full breadth of the group's many talents. The record's centerpiece is the eerie title track, a taut, mid-tempo dirge that's loosely based on the story of Jesus at the Well. Though traditional, the tune's incestuous overtones and dark imagery have limited its appeal to older generations of singers -- most refuse to sing it -- and defined it as the forbidden fruit of Celtic music. Andy Irvine offers up two of his finest ballads, the mournful wartime love letter "As I Roved Out" and the bittersweet "Time Will Cure Me," proving once again that his deeply expressive voice is unmatched within the genre. Moore's "As I Roved Out" -- same name, entirely different song -- is a wonderfully catchy tune anchored by Irvine's bouzouki and tin whistle that showcases Moore's tale-telling prowess. The Well Below the Valley is everything a collection of traditional music should be. With its warm and simple production and fine performances, it remains a classic that should have little problem surviving the ages. ~ James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Gwydion Pendderwen
"Songs for the Old Religion" & "The Faerie Shaman"
(US Pagan-Folk 1975, 1982)


Text from Pandora's Bazaar blog:
According to my handy dandy Witches Datebook, Pagan bard Gwydion Pendderwen would have turned 60 this past weekend.

Let me begin by admitting that I'm not a big fan of Pagan music. It's usually too folksy, too goth, or too ethereal for my pop sensibilities. Yet for some reason, I like the music of Gwydion Pendderwen. It's very 60's, very folk-rock, the kind of stuff you might hear at a Renaissance Festival, but it's also so wonderfully pagan, almost liturgical.

Gwydion was born Thomas deLong on May 21 (or 22), 1946 in California. When he was just 13, he met and became a student of the blind seer and poet Victor Anderson of Feri Tradition and Gwydion became highly influential in establishing this tradition. In college, he majored in theater, displaying a real talent for storytelling.

Neo-Paganism was exploding in the 70's and in 1975 Gwydion released his first recording, Songs of the Old Religion. It included songs for the Sabbats and love songs to the God and Goddess. It brought Gwydion fame and standing in the Pagan community.

Deeply interested in the Celtic culture, Gwydion traveled to the British Isles in 1976. The trip had a profound influence on him. He met several important figures in the Wiccan movement, including Alex Saunders and Stuart Farrar, made pilgrimages to Ireland and Wales where he was honored for his music.

Gwydion returned to California, quit his job, and purchased a plot of the Greenfield Ranch in Mendocino County. He called Annwfn, after the Welsh underworld. In 1982, he released his second and final recording, The Faerie Shaman. Gwydion was killed in a car accident that same year. He was only 36.

More about Gwydion Pendderwen here: Psyche Van Het Folk

Sample pic: 1, 2

Download: Songs of the Old Religion (re-post)
Download: The Faerie Shaman (re-post)
One of my favorite artist...
Vin Garbutt "Plugged! -Live-" (UK Folk 1995)

For those that have never managed to get in a Vin Garbutt audience, this is a neat primer showing his surreal humour, his lyrical songwriting, his heroic pennywhistle playing and his unique vocals. An excellent album that is thought provoking and hilarious and moving and foot-tapping........

For more informations, please check here: The Living Tradition


1. Wings
2. A Man of the Earth
3. To find the Ulster peace
4. Fell off the back of a boat
5. Send the boats away
6. The Birk brow jig / Thomas Mc Elvogue's jig
7. Welcome home Howard Green
8. Darwin to Dili
9. Believe me if all those endearing young charms
10. Away from the pits
11. Nothing to show for it all
12. When oppressed becomes oppressor

Highly recommend to all english folk music lovers
and some Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull) fans.

Here is "The Young Tin Whistle Pest" (1974) from my old post.

To anonymous visitor:
Finaly, here is your most wanted album. And happy birthday! to your uncle.
(I was born in September, too)

Complaint received from Vin Garbutt himself...
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