Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jan & Lorraine "Gypsy People" (UK Folk-Psych 1969)

Bad Cat Records:
Can't say I've uncovered much about this short-lived duo composed of singer/guitarists Jan Hendin and Lorraine LeFevre. What little information out there is contradictory. Even the basic facts are hazy with some references saying they were American, others indicating they were British and still other works saying they were Canadian.

Regardless, their sole album 1969's "Gypsy" was recorded in London's IBC Studios with Anthony Browne producing and with backing from a rather impressive collection of UK musicians. With both Hendin and LeFevre contributing material the album offered up an engaging mix of folk, psych and world music moves. Dealers continually drop the term 'acid-folk when trying to unload lame folk crap on unsuspecting collectors, but if you want to hear a true acid-folk LP, then this may well set the benchmark for such comparisons. By themselves Hendin and LeFevre both had attractive voices and on material such as 'Bird of Passage', the title track and '' they turned in some gorgeous harmony work that had a distinctive English folk-rock feel which occasionally recalled the likes of Sandy Denny, June Tabor, etc.. Actually, because of the distinctive middle eastern flavors found throughout the album, a better comparison might be to Magic Carpet's Alisha Sufit (interesting to note that tabla player Kaeshav Sathe played with Magic Carpet). The pair also had pretty interesting tastes in outside music with the album including a pair of Perth County Conspiracy covers (Richard Keelan's rocking 'Break Out the Wine' and 'Don't You Feel Fine'). While there wasn't anything particularly commercial here (which is one of the attractions for me), the duo's willingness to experiment and take some substantial risks gave the set a unique appeal that should be of interest to a wide spectrum of collectors. Personal favorites included the funky raga-influenced title track, the extended 'The Assignmnet Song-Sequence' and ''. Perhaps intended as their stab at commerciality, to my ears the only real mis-steps were 'Snow Roses' which was a little too operatic for my ears, 'Space 33' which featured a young girl on lead vocals, and the goofy music hall-styled 'Old Tyme Move'. Ray Davies and Paul McCartney could get away with it on occasion, but not this pair. Excluding those couple of minor let downs, it's surprising that this album isn't commanding much more attraction for collectors (and similar prices).

Nazir Jair Azbhoy -- tamboura
Clem Cattini -- drums
Terry Cox -- percussion
Jan Hendin -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, kazoo
Takie Hendin -- backing vocals
Lorraine LeFevre -- vocals, guitar
Rod Mirfield -- percussion
Brian Odgers -- bass
Kaeshav Sathe -- tabla


Blogger musicgnome said...

My never cease to amaze.

18 October, 2006 02:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a real pearl thamks

31 December, 2006 07:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for re-posting this Lizardson! It is a real rarity as far as I can tell, and I am anxious to have a listen with my midnite tea...

24 January, 2007 19:13  
Blogger length said...

thanks for this re post am really looking forward to hearing this

09 July, 2007 06:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a masterpiece, thaty deserves to be downloaded and listened forever! How it´s possible not to be a legend on folk ? Someone knows something about them, what happened? Your blog is marvelous!

07 August, 2007 08:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


09 December, 2007 07:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, thanks for posting this. I have never heard of Jan and Lorraine until a few days. I actually saw Lorraine perform at a coffee shop, she was amazing. I asked if she ever recorded and she told me she was a part of Jan and Lorraine and that the only thing she ever recorded was the 1969 album Gypsy People.
She goes by the name Elayna now. I am looking now for a copy of Gypsy People and I plan to see her again if i get the chance. I believe she lives locally here.

13 July, 2009 13:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amazing story. i love that there's almost no information about them and that you actually met her under her 'new' name. wicked!

28 July, 2009 23:46  
Blogger Rosie Schaap said...

Mayela, that's great that you heard her live. When you say she lives locally, where's locally for you?

25 August, 2009 02:03  
Anonymous trik2na said...

I just found a copy of Gypsy People, in near mint condition no less. I paid less than a buck for it as part of a box of old LP's from an estate sale. I hadn't heard of Jan & Lorraine previous to this purchase but was instantly attracted by the jacket art work. It is truly '69 psych and I thought they must be a San Fran band. Before doing any research I dropped it on the turntable for a listen and was blown away... all the comments here are dead-on. Awesome sound... these gals have incredible talent. Really unfortunate they didn't record more... or maybe it's better they didn't? Something to be said for that feeling of "leaving you wanting more"...

23 November, 2011 14:56  

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