Friday, May 11, 2007


"De L'Autre Côté de la Foręt" 1975

Tangerine were a simple folk quartet based out of France, distinguished by the luminous lead presence of Valéry Btesh and the ornate flute work of Marc Donahue. With the potential of four, count 'em four acoustic guitars at work and equally layered vocal harmonies, you know what you can expect, and this is where the band's undoubtedly excelled. Discounting a few instrumentals, half of the songs are sung in their native tongue, and the other half in English, with uncommonly minimal intrusion from accents.
De L'Autre Côté de la Foręt is another of the great unsungs. Though the album gets off to a decent if unremarkable start, we soon hit Btesh's "Méditations," which I'll go on record saying is one of the most beautiful songs I've yet come across in my explorations over the years under the broad prog umbrella, and that's simply not an overstatement. Picture Genesis circa Trespass transplanted to the rural countryside with a French Sandy Denny singing a melody that hypnotizes all in its path. If I need to say more, then as was once said elsewhere, "you'll never know." Though obviously less ambitious, "Direction Sud" is another tune from this band that has stuck with me through the years, an acoustic pop tune with stalwart harmonies and a beguiling chorus. Past these, there are additional songs ("Liberté," "It's Ending," "Listen") with other delicious melodies that solidify this album as a must-track-down for the latent or not-so-latent folkies of the prog community.

Granted, as can be discerned from the songs in English and the general style of the band, Tangerine drew at least some influence from the West Coast psych-folk scene that permeated the late 60s. In fact, this often seems more like an album that would have been made in 1968-69, rather than 1975. Even so, this album is a far cry from the posturing, make-love-for-Jerry narcissism that signals hippiedom at its worst. Say what you want about the lyrics, Tangerine never sounded less than sincere in their delivery, and many of the songs have that introspective touch that makes them genuine in their ability to reach and touch the listener.

"Memoire" 1976

More closely related to US roots and folk-rock, than their debut, this 1976 release by the French 'Fairports was recorded after the departure of vocalist Valéry Btesh. On offer is an excellent set of relaxed rural hippie-rock, sounding more like 1972 than 76! Most songs sung in English.


Anonymous zoot said...

Nice blog ... any chance of an RSS feed?

11 May, 2007 22:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb albums - contemplative, gentle and healing. Many thanks for posting them!

12 May, 2007 06:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Foret" is a great album, though short. Something of a cross between "Malicorne", though more bucolic and less trad, and "Harmonium". In fact, the acoustic sound is very reminscent of the first two "Harmonium" albums. Thanks!!!

12 May, 2007 07:39  
Anonymous bluenorther said...

Tangerine's first album was a nice surprise, the long and short of it -thank you again.

12 May, 2007 14:08  
Anonymous SCION said...

O lord Lizard, the CD covers/images won't load from Image Shack.


14 May, 2007 03:39  
Anonymous arbor said...

really enjoying these...thanks alot!

21 May, 2007 09:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm taking a couple or so albums for the weekend listening, this & Harmonium I never hear of, COB I liked Tartan Lancers. There's so much , the problem is to give the music it's respect, listen to each track nicely.Many thanks for such a wonderful opportunity!!!!!

23 June, 2007 03:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's years after it's been posted, but you really ought to mention that De L'Autre Côté de la Forêt is actually a French-language cover of the America song Sandman.

24 February, 2010 11:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance of a reupload of Memoire? I would really love to hear this album again.

25 May, 2012 21:22  

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