Friday, June 30, 2006

Loudest Whisper

"Children Of Lir" & "Loudest Whisper 2"

Nice hippie acid folkrock a few times with "naïve" Christian sounding female choir, piano additions, some orchestrations. According to Greyhound's records this is a "Rare as hell concept folk rock lp from '73. originals were released on irish Polydor & are valued at 400! CD taken from original masters & has 3 extra tracks." According to Laser's Edge this is an "Excellent Irish electric folk progressive that was originally released in 1973. This is a fantasy based conceptual work. The band features female vocals, great electric guitar, flute, strings, and of course, bass and drums. Fans of Caedmon line up for this one!" Labels comments : "Hailing from Fermoy, Co Cork, Loudest Whisper proved their originality with the success of their first folk rock musical “The Children of Lir”. That was back in 1973. Today, after two more successful musicals, “Perseus” and “Maiden of Sorrow”, and some of the hit singles on this album. Loudest Whisper have established their own recording studio in Fermoy, “Studio Fiona”. Brian O'Reilly, founder of the group, and his brother Paud write all their own material. Drawing both influences from both American and European sources, Loudest Whisper successfully combine the best of contemporary folk and soft rock to produce a highly original sound."
Earth and Fire ''Earth and Fire'' (Dutch Prog-Rock 1970)

Earth and Fire were one of the leading Dutch progressive rock groups and my personal fave among progressive rock bands with female singers. They had a powerful sound and their strong compositions were always based in inspired and highly memorable melodies. Their debut-album is progressive rock in a less symphonic and slightly rougher vein than later albums. Some of the tracks ("Wild and Exciting" and "Love Quiver") even borders on heavy progressive. There was no Mellotron in their sound yet, but Gerard Koerts' (brother of guitarist Chris Koerts) excellent use of flute, organ and vibes took well care of the band's progressive sound already in this state of their career. "Earth and Fire" is a good debut with no bad tracks. "Vivid Shady Land" and "21st Century Show" are both catchy and energetic tracks with great harmonies and progressive breaks in the middle with beautifully atmospheric flute and organ. Their harmonies also come to the fore on the ballad "You Know the Way". But the possibly most beautiful and most atmospheric moment on the whole album is the acoustic and flute-dominated "What's Your Name". "Ruby is the One" is on the other hand more of a kick-ass pop song and was not very surprisingly released as one of the singles from the album. Most of the signature sound of Earth and Fire is clear already here, even if their sound would become much more symphonic with the next releases.

1. Wild and Exciting
2. Twilight Dreamer
3. Ruby is The One
4. You Know The Way
5. Vivid Shady Land
6. 21st Century Show
7. Seaons
8. Love Quivers
9. What's Your Name
10. Hazy Paradise (bonus track)
11. Mechanical Lover (bonus track)
Stone Angel ''Stone Angel'' (UK Folk 1975)

Super rare mid seventies UK folk rock item. The band's unique sound blends baroque instrumentation with lazily sustained electric guitars in a haze of gothic splendour. Full of Dulcimer, flutes, mandolins etc...

01. The Bells Of Dunwich
02. The Skater
03. Pastime With Good Company
04. Traveller's Tale
05. Black-Sailed Traders
06. Stone Angel
07. Galliard
08. The Gray Goshawk
09. The Black Dog
10. The Holy Rood Of Bromholm

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Giles, Giles & Fripp ''The Brondesbury Tapes'' (Demo Tracks 1968)

Cover is from ''Metaphormosis'' LP

Considering that Giles, Giles & Fripp's original album sold about 500 copies, the very existence of this 70-minute CD is a source of astonishment as well as delight. Comprised of privately made tapes of the legendary progressive/pop/rock trio -- all home recordings, on a Revox stereo reel-to-reel recorder, that made lots of use of overdubbing -- this CD shows Robert Fripp, Peter Giles, and Michael Giles (along with Julie Dyble and Ian McDonald) at their most experimental. Virtually all of what ended up on The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp seems to have started life here, before they ever got into Decca's studios, so this is a chance to hear some of their released music as works-in-progress, most notably Robert Fripp's "Suite No. 1" (which was later transmuted into "Prelude: Song of the Gulls" from Islands), and an early Fripp guitar piece, "Tremelo Study in A Major." King Crimson completists will also be overjoyed to find the GG&F rendition of "I Talk to the Wind" (two different takes of it, in fact) in its original version, sung by Julie Dyble, which appeared on the double LP Young Person's Guide to King Crimson, finally turning up on CD on this disc. Also present on this CD is another lost early link in Crimson's subsequent output, "Why Don't You Just Drop In," which evolved through several intermediate stages into "The Letters" on Islands; and a portion of Fripp's "Passages of Time" ended up in the bridge of "Peace--A Theme" from In the Wake of Poseidon. Dyble turns up on vocals along with Ian McDonald (who plays sax, flute, and keyboards, as well as singing) on "Make It Today," a smooth piece of progressive pop-jazz (complete with a McDonald sax solo) that sounds as though it could have come from Judith Durham of the Seekers in a light moment. McDonald is all over these tapes, playing flute on an outtake of "Digging My Lawn" and saxes and piano elsewhere. Not all of it is great music -- "Plastic Pennies" is pure (albeit pleasant) pop, worthy of the Seekers -- but the raw talent is impressive. Additionally, listening to these tapes, one gets the sense that Giles, Giles, Fripp & McDonald, whatever they called themselves, could have made it, at least as far as the jazz clubs in England, without ever becoming what we later knew as King Crimson. There's also a pleasant bonus for fans of Peter Sinfield, whose "Under the Sky" (later a centerpiece of his solo album), turns up here in its ethereal original version, sung by Dyble. There is distortion on a few tracks, but most of what's here displays amazingly good quality for home demos dating back more than 30 years. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

1. Hypocrite (3:45)
2. Digging my lawn (2:00)
3. Tremelo Study in A Major (1:45)
4. Newly weds (2:00)
5. Suite No. 1 (5:35)
6. Scrivens (2:15)
7. Make it today (3:25)
8. Digging my lawn (1:55)
9. Why don't you just drop in (3:40)
10. I talk to the wind (3:15)
11. Under the sky (3:55)
12. Plastic pennies (2:20)
13. Passages of time (3:30)
14. Under the sky (2:50)
15. Murder (2:40)
16. I talk to the wind (3:15)
17. Erudite eyes (6:45)
18. Make it today (4:45)
19. Wonderland (6:05)
20. Why don't you just drop in (3:40)
21. She is loaded (3:15)
Julie Mairs & Chris Stowell ''Soft Sea Blue'' (UK Folk 1977)

They started their collaboration in 1975, with Chris Stowell (was a member of Westwind) on guitar, banjo and saxophone and made this rare British folk album. Julie Mairs has a beautiful voice and Chris is a brilliant songwriter and instrumentalist. Excellent material of UK folk. In places similar to June Tabor.

1. Mendocino (Talk To Me Of)
2. It Doesn't Matter Any More
3. Lovers Cross
4. Another Hotel Room
5. For Free
6. Soft Sea Blue
7. Do You Really Need To Keep On Asking
8. Sweet Sorrows
9. After The Gold Rush
10. The Moon's A Hard Mistress

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Manfred Mann Chapter Three ''Volume Two'' (UK Prog-Rock 1970)

Second album from this band, and still delving further in experimentation – these things being relative, of course, but remember that these guys were pop writers just a year before this release. With an unchanged line-up and a strange artwork, this second albums takes off just where the previous had quit. The most logical step forward was the extension/lengthening of the tracks allowing for more instrumental interplay. 8-min opening track 'Lady Ace' could've easily fitted on their previous album, with the difference that the brass section does get wilder than anything they had done on the first volume. 'Poor Sad Sue' easily tops that with a free-jazz brass section solo before bringing things back to more conventional rock. 'Jump Before You Think' with its African percussions and York improvising wildly on his bass, then the brass (first with a Moroccan feel) take over and a dissonant sax soloing away, is yet another perfect example of this unit still breaking new grounds. 'It's Good To Be Alive' is more reminiscent of their debut album, but it is a creeper. The extended 16-min track 'Happy Being Me' is full of great soloing (including Mann on piano) and some outstanding wind-works from Harold Becket and Nick Evans (of Keith Tippett fame)

1. Lady Ace
2. I Ain't Laughing
3. Poor Sad Sue
4. Jump Before You Think
5. It's Good To Be Alive
6. Happy Being Me
7. Virginia
8. I Ain't Laughing (Mono version) *Bonus
9. Happy Being Me (Single mono version) *Bonus
10. Virginia (Alternate version) *Bonus
Westwind ''Love Is...'' (UK Folk 1970)

Fragile, wispy songs are the stock of Westwind as described in their album booklet. The first song has a jazzy , playful quality to a simple ballad with three part harmony vocals, strummed guitar and a shuffling rhythm. 'Sleepy City' has gentle horn and flute touches over a lovely late night hushed song. A similar feeling is achieved on 'Harbour Lights'. 'Love is a funny sort of thing' and 'Home is where my heart is' are slightly more driven and with a faster tempo but still stark and simple in instrumentation. Some songs have a whimsical child like, 70s Radio 2 aspect that may infuriate some listeners such as on 'Sun Across The Snow' or especially on the atrociously twee 'Sweeney Todd'. Some songs like 'Goodtimes' are derived from the 50s skiffle song mixed with a sort of evangelical happiness that is hard to stomach. At these times you can almost see the band as a guest slot on a BBC Val Doonican special or opening for The Spinners at a sea side resort. However almost all can be forgiven by the stunning 18th century styled ballad 'Robin Hill' which evokes countryside and the rural quite beautifully with a precisely sung female lead vocal and very simple guitar and strings backing.

1. Goodbye Butterfly
2. Sleepy City
3. Love Is Funny Sort Of Thing
4. Sun Across The Snow
5. How Many Stars
6. Robin Hill
7. Goodtimes
8. Fisherman Song
9. Sweeney Todd
10. Rosemary
11. Harbour Lights
12. Home Is Where My Heart Is
Moths ''Heron's Daughter'' (UK Folk 1969)

01. I Am Lonely (Jansch)
02. The Heron (Ellis)
03. Travelling Song (Jansch)
04. I Shall Be Released (Dylan)
05. Phantasmagoria In Two (Buckley)
06. Empty Pocket Blues (Clive Palmer)
07. Running From Home (Jansch)
08. A Stupid Song (Ellis)
09. Dreams Of Love (Jansch)
10. Be My Friend (David Ackles)

John Dunn (member of Moths):
I have a 12" LP of the unreleased album we recorded on 23 June 1970. The Kissing Spell label must have got hold of one of the other copies- I think we had about a dozen done- and run off KSCD 9470-f "Heron's Daughter" from it, very shoddily as there is an uncorrected record-needle jump on the first track. The CD is dated 1994 and says MCPS, which is the body which collects and distributes royalties! I'll take a cheque, thanks very much!

I was the bass guitarist of The Moths. I was a second-year undergraduate at Hull University at the time, and I think all of the others were too. We didn't do very many gigs, but unexpectedly were offered some recording time in the studio at the University's theatre building.

John Ellis - vocals & guitar
Mike Jones - vocals & guitar
John Dunn - vocals & bass
Neil Cawley - flute
John Beazer - bongos

The album was recorded in the Gulbenkian Centre, Hull University, England, 23
June 1970 and transferred to disc by Deroy Sound Service of Carnforth,
Lancashire. We recorded two of John Ellis's songs, plus others by Bert Jansch,
Dylan, Tim Buckley, David Ackles and Clive Palmer from the original Incredible
String Band.

I Am Lonely (Jansch) - vocal, JE (with MJ)
The Heron (Ellis) - JE.
Travelling Song (Jansch) - MJ (with JE)
I Shall Be Released (Dylan) - JD (with MJ)
Phantasmagoria In Two (Buckley) - MJ
Empty Pocket Blues (Clive Palmer) - JE
Running From Home (Jansch) - MJ and JE
A Stupid Song (Ellis) - JE
Dreams Of Love (Jansch) - MJ and JE
Be My Friend (David Ackles) - MJ

That's my hesitant singing on "I Shall Be Released", plus my bass guitar on all
the tracks except "Running From Home". I enjoyed the gigs, but the recording was
not pleasant. I banged my head as I went in, and did the recording in a state of
mild concussion. On listening to the album, I realised that my bottom E bass
string was flat, which makes listening to my solo on "Be My Friend" a rather
embarrassing experience. The only one of us with any recording experience was
Neil, who had played flute (pseudonymously) on a couple of early Ralph McTell
tracks. John Beazer was the contact with Deroy's Sound Service and had an
impressive collection of LP's he'd played on - all pressed by Deroy's. I'm sure
I've got a practice tape of "The Heron" (recorded in Hull University kitchen)
but I'll have to search for it. I haven't seen or heard any of the other members
since I graduated in 1971. I put the word out on the Hull alumni website and
magazine, to try to contact them, but with no success. An American guy from a
mail order company says he'll finance another CD if I can find some other
members. I'm tempted to use some of my fellow Norwich hacks instead ! Most of
them are still living in 1970 anyway. I've done a lot of things since then
(including singing a Gregorian chant with my wife and 2 daughters on TV's "Time
Team") but I still remember fondly my time with the Moths.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Comus ''To Keep From Crying'' (UK Prog-Folk 1974)

This is very good progressive folk music. Well, there are lots of acoustic instruments involved: acoustic guitars, bassoon, saxophone and tons of xylophone among others. The tracks are quite loaded, and the main attraction is this highly pitched childish & fragile female lead vocals: one can easily fall under its charm: very addictive indeed! There are not tons of keyboards, but they are at the right place at the right time. The bass is definitely not timid. There are couples of psychedelic parts which IMO remove some worthiness to this record, but compared to their "First utterance" album, this record is quite more down to earth and less strange.

1. Down (Like a Movie Star)
2. Touch Down
3. Waves and Caves
4. Figure in Your Dreams
5. Children of the Universe
6. So Long Supernova
7. Perpetual Motion
8. Panophany
9. Get Yourself a Man
10. To Keep from Crying
11. After the Dream
Hokus Poke ''Earth Harmony'' (UK Blues Rock 1972)

Hokus Poke were a early UK British blues band on the Vertigo label. As far as I know, they only released Earth Harmony in 1972. Essentially, Hokus Poke follow along the lines of the electric blues pioneered by Cream five year earlier. However, the first half of the album is much more acoustic based which gives them their own voice. At least I couldn't think of any ready comparisons. They are a quartet of two guitars, bass and drums. One of the guitarists also adds occasional steel guitar. Overall, nothing to write home about except for collectors of the UK electric blues scene and the Vertigo label.

1. H.P. Boogie
2. Sunrise Sunset (The Sunset)
3. Big World Small Guy
4. Down in the Street
5. Hag Rag Barry Miles
6. Living in Harmony
7. Time and Space Barry Miles
8. The Poke
Forest ''Forest'' & ''Full Circle'' (UK Folk 1969-70)

Forest were a late 60’s minstrel/medieval type of folk-prog trio in the style of The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention and Dr. Strangely Strange. They released a couple of albums with dark but subtle acid lyrics, incorporating pipes, harmonium, harpsichord, mandolin, 12-string guitar and percussion to their sound. Their music doesn’t have the electricity normally associated with rock, yet it can’t be described as straight folk either, the lyrics being rather strange and the band’s approach being far too eclectic – thus their inclusion here. Their eponymous album (1969) is practically a clone of The Incredible String Band whereas “Full Circle” (1970) shows more original songwriting and more diverse arrangements, with themes still dealing with nature, mystery and darkness. Both albums are altogether esoteric, pastoral, serious and communal as befit the times. Not essential but if you like the spirit of Comus, Gryphon or Mellow Candle. Check them out, for a bit of hippie nostalgia.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Chris Britton ''As I Am'' (UK Psychedelic Folk 1969)

Very rare psychy folk by Troggs' guitarist.
Chris Britton himself, described the LP sleevenote, as "an ego trip", but mercifully it is never self obsessed, bloated, contrived or maniacal. It is fascinating, it is a fascinating colection of a dozen self-penned songs (plus one cover version), but as with most "ego trips", it was ignored by the record buying public. A public not sufficiently curious to investigate the undoubted talents of the Troggs' guitarist - despite the sleeve's hype: "Chris Britton of The Troggs". But then the public weren't interested in solo releases by Reg Presley or Ronnie Bond.
The LP opens with 'Sit Down Beside Me' a great track now finally getting some exposure. 'Will It Last' is harpsichord popsyke, very English indeed. Next up is 'That Was The Time', a Kinks-ish acoustic ballad. The vocal performance is very Ray Davies-like. 'No Sense In Fighting', the only really duff track on this LP, is a bluesy Dylanesque bore. 'Maybe Time Will Change Me' is again, like the late 60s Kinks: nice ballad pop. One of the highlights of the album is 'Fly With Me',

Let the music hypnotise
Explore the underlying rise
And fall with me
Fly to the moon above
Fly on the wings of love
It's free
Dance through the mountain streams
See just how wild your dreams can be...

-- which are delivered in the very best & feyest UK manner, sit atop a very classy funky pop groover, augmented with some swirly sitaresque guitar breaks. Very very nice. 'If You Really Care' is a Kaleidoscope-like (think 'A Lesson Perhaps') folky acoustic piece, with a mildly trippy vibe. 'Run And Hide' is pretty good: Tourquise style pop, let down only by a flat lead vocal. 'How Do You Say Goodbye' is sparkling strings pop a la Honeybus, and wouldappeal to many I'm sure. 'Sleep My Love' is another harpsichord-lead ballad. 'Why Did I let You Go' is gentle, soulful and again acoustic. The version of 'Evil Woman' herein, is probably one of the most extraordinary. Featuring jazzy sax, fuzz and brass, it really is a splendid track. The pensive closer, 'Learn How To Love Life And You'll Be Living' is a hippie ballad, somewhat tainted by a country-blues influence, which features tweet tweet bird song sound effects.

1. Sit Down Beside Me
2. Will It Last
3. That Was The Time
4. No Sense In Fighting
5. Maybe Time Will Change You
6. Fly With Me
7. If You Really Care
8. Run And Hide
9. How Do You Say Goodbye
10. Sleep My Love
11. Why Did I Let You Go
12. Evil Woman
13. Learn To Love Life You’ll Be Living
Beggars Opera ''Pathfinder'' (UK Prog-Rock 1972)

This album sounds a little more aggressive than the two previous albums. The mellotron was gone, and replaced by some harpsichord instead. The guitar is also more visible than before. The album includes what I would regard as BO's best recording ever: their version of Richard Harris' heavenly classic "Mac Arthur Park". The track seems to fit BO perfectly, and this version is still the best I've heard of it. Excellent harpsichord and organ lifts the track to the heights it deserves. This is simply one of my all time favourite tracks! But as I said, large parts of the album is heavier than anything the band had done before. "The Witch" and the harpsichord-driven "Madame Doubtfire" are both quite hard tracks with satanic lyrics! Both tracks are excellent anyway. "From Shark to Haggis" lives up to it's title. The first part is a sinister heavy progressive piece, while the last part is an instrumental with a very Scottish feel to it (after all, the band were from Scotland!). You should get both this and "Waters of Change". (
The Pretty Things "Resurrection" 1998
(Reunion, ''S.F. Sorrow'' Live)

On September 6, 1998, the Pretty Things gathered at Abbey Road Studios to perform--for the first time ever--their 1960s rock opera S.F. Sorrow live in its entirety. The performance, by the Pretties' actual 1966-67 lineup (with the addition of Frankie Holland on guitar), was simulcast on the Internet and recorded for release on this CD. Since the 1968 album of S.F. Sorrow remains available on CD (on the same label, in fact), one could justifiably wonder why exactly anyone, even a Pretty Things fan, would want a 1998 live version of it. Well, there are some small extras that make this of more interest than such remakes usually are. One is the presence of Dave Gilmour on guitar on five tracks. Another is the narration of Arthur Brown, whose richly recited between-song links give the story more cohesion than it did first time around. No, this could not be said to be better or as good as the original S.F. Sorrow, but the band do play and sing it quite well here, without any of the ghastly modernizing technology that usually clouds such recreations. As a souvenir, it's a pretty good one. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
Thanks for all visitors and those comments!
I'll keep posting good stuffs as I can!


Room For Thought (Unreleased 2nd album 1971)

Folk-Rock theatrics from a band whose debut LP for Nepentha is highly regarded by those in the know. This one is their equally impressive unreleased 2nd album, recorded in 1971.

01. To Need Her
02. Status In Maryland
03. Mr. Rip Van Winkle
04. The Planters Cottage
05. Running On Down The Road
06. Empty Hallways
07. Grey Lady Morning
08. Missing The Head
09. Mr. Time
10. Sandalwood Sailors
11. Scarlet Lady
12. But Maybe Not

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Colin Hare

March Hare (1971)

This is also solo effort from member of Honeybus. When 'March Hare' appeared (and disappeared) in 1971, nobody would have expected the Honeybus guitarist/singer to come up with such a well-crated collection of original material, his previous attempts being limited to one Honeybus b-side and a couple of songs on their classic 'Story' album. Recorded in the same flurry of sessions that spawned Pete Dello's 'Into Your Ears' and Honeybus' ill-fated reunion album 'Recital', 'March Hare' is a UK troubadour classic which still sounds fresh and innovative today. With help from Honeybus drummer Pete Kircher and Rockpile guitar whizz Billy Bremner, Colin laid down a dozen tracks which run the whole gamut of early 70's pop, rock, folk and country influences. Highlights are too numerous to mention but the beatific waltz of 'Bloodshot Eyes', the effortlessly commercial pop of 'Alice' and the haunting folk ballad 'Find Me' still send shivers down the spine.

1. Get Up the Road
2. Bloodshot Eyes
3. For Where Have You Been
4. Find Me
5. Underground Girl
6. To My Maker
7. Alice
8. Nothing to Write Home About
9. New Day
10. Cowboy Joe (Saga)
11. Just Like Me
12. Charlie Brown's Time
13. Grannie, Grannie [Bonus]
14. Fighting for Peace [Bonus]

Pete Dello

Into Your Ears (1971)

The '60s spawned so many psychedelic bands that the reissue has become its own genre. Audiophiles flock to conventions worldwide to pay exorbitant amounts of money for obscurities that your average music fan would recoil at. This passion has unearthed horrible artifacts, intriguing oddities, and the occasional gem. After tasting success in 1968 with the single "I Can't Let Maggie Go," Honeybus founder Pete Dello left the band after only one album to pursue a more settled lifestyle. His distaste for the rigors of touring left him with a surplus of un-recorded material that would eventually steer him back into the studio to record his first and only solo record. Into Your Ears features 14 songs, each under three-and-a-half minutes long, that prosper through a winning combination of goofy psychedelia and Beatlesque beauty. The sweet melodies and gentle harmonies of "It's What You've Got" and "Taking The Heart Out Of Love" are timeless, devoid of irony, and begging for placement in a Wes Anderson film. "Do I Still Figure In Your Life," which has since been covered by the likes of Joe Cocker, conveys the same irresistible form of melancholy that permeates a great Randy Newman or Harry Nilsson recording, and more than makes up for the wince-inducing "Uptight Basil" and "Harry The Earwig (the latter inspired the horrific Roger Dean cover art). Dello's voice is sweet and clear, with only a tinge of the British folk throatiness that ruled the era. The songs, while never complex, benefit from strategically placed string arrangements that rarely disappoint, and crisp production as exemplified on the set closer "Arise Sir Henry." Also included are the Magic Valley versions of "Taking The Heart Out Of Love" and "Uptight Basil," which differ only in sound quality (poorer) from the album renditions, and provide collector's with the definitive edition of this highly sought after (almost) masterpiece. ~ James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide

1. It's What You've Got
2. There's Nothing That I Can Do For You
3. I'm A Gambler
4. Harry The Earwig
5. Do I Still Figure In Your Life
6. Uptight Basil
7. Taking The Heart Out Of Love
8. On A Time Said Sylvie
9. A Good Song
10. It's The Way
11. Go Away
12. Arise Sir Henry
13. Taking The Heart Out Of Love *Single Version* (Bonus)
14. Uptight Basil *Single Version* (Bonus)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dr. Z

Three Parts to My Soul (1971)

Dr. Z's first and only album is the most rare record released on the Vertigo-swirl label. It sold only about 70 copies (!!) when it was released, and the rest of the pressings were trashed. It's actually not so hard to understand, as the music on the album often was extremely clumsy and awkward. The band had three members who played harpsichord, bass and drums. The fact that harpsichord was the only keyboard used gave them at least a somewhat unique sound. The lyrics dealt with occultism and the evil of man, and were far better written than the music. And just like Black Widow's "Sacrifice" this gave the album a slight amusement-value to it. The opening track "Evil Woman's Manly Child" included the following cute lines: "Covet every man his wife/Cut love up with a knife/Salt the wound that's sore/Rub it where it cuts your mind in half/Set your fellow man against his friend/Torment him to the end". The mellow "In a Token of Despair" was easily the best track on the whole album, and told about the part of the soul that remains on the earth to haunt it forever. This is still an album for serious collectors only, not just because of the not so very good music, but you'll also have to pay a fortune if you ever find one of the 70 remaining copies of it. And that's not very likely at all.

1. Evil Woman's Manly Child
2. Spiritus, Manes et Umbra
3. Summer for the Rose
4. Burn in Anger
5. Too Well Satisfied
6. In a Token of Despair
7. Lady Ladybird
8. People in the Street

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ramases 'Space Hymns' (UK Prog-Folk 1971)

Ramases was undoubtedly one of the most bizarre and eccentric personalities to record music in the 70's. He claimed to be the reincarnated ancient Egyptian god of the same name, and had been given a vision to enlighten mankind with his "cosmic knowledge" (or something like that). His way to do that was to write a bunch of songs together with his wife Sel. On his debut "Space Hymns" he was backed by a group of studio-musicians that soon would be better known as 10cc. The album is ironically remembered more for the gigantic foldout cover (one of Roger Dean's coolest and most spectacular creations) than for its musical content. But with the exception of the sappy folk balladry of "And the Whole World" and "Jesus Come Back", the music is quite good and original. It can probably be best described as some sort of spacey, psychedelic and folk-inflected progressive rock with strong Eastern influences from time to time. The opener "Life Child" has a good melody and some nice Moog and stands as one of the best on the album. Songs like "Hello Mister", "You're the Only One" and "Molecular Delusions" are based in quirky and repetitive vocal lines. The almost touching "Earth People" features some distorted flute not unlike what Nik Turner often did in Hawkwind. "Quasar One" is also good, and next to "Molecular Delusions" the most eastern-sounding song. The closer "Journey to the Inside" features lots of backward tapes and an ending that shows that Ramases after all probably didn't take himself or his project all that serious. The philosophical and space-oriented lyrics are also a plus, at least for me. Nice stuff.

1. Life Child
2. Oh Mister
3. And The Whole World
4. Quasar One
5. You're The Only One Joe
6. Earth-People
7. Molecular Delusions
8. Balloon
9. Dying Swan Year 2000
10. Jesus Come Back
11. Journey To The Inside

McGuinness Flint 'Lo and Behold' (UK Folk-Rock 1972)

This is one of the finest records of its era (originally issued on DJM and Sire) and, amazingly, as a record of cover versions, had lots of rock press credibility as well. It should have fared about as well as the Hollies' venture into Dylan territory, except that Coulson, Dean, McGuinness, Flint were more suited to the Dylan material, and the Dylan songs they chose were a deliberate effort to delve specifically into material that Dylan had not released (as of that time) in any official versions -- this was stuff that was known either only as compositions, or from various white-label bootlegs that were around then. The result was a record as good as anything the Band ever turned in, a gorgeous, haunting electric/acoustic mixture with impassioned vocals, impeccable musicianship, and what were then revelations about some of Dylan's best and least-known songs. (Remember, he was off the road then, and releasing maybe an album a year.) The numbers include "Eternal Circle" (added to this reissue in an alternate mix version as a bonus track), "Lay Down Your Weary Tune," "Open the Door Homer," "Don't You Tell Henry," "Get Your Rocks Off," "Tiny Montgomery" (a bonus track previously available only as a single B-side), "I Wanna Be Your Lover," "Let Me Die In My Footsteps," "Lo And Behold," and "Sign On the Cross." The sound is stunningly clean, and the new historical notes by Tom McGuinness are cool. [The Japan edition featured different cover art.] ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

1. Eternal Circle
2. Lo and Behold
3. Let Me Die in My Footsteps
4. Open the Door, Homer
5. Lay Down Your Weary Tune
6. Don't You Tell Henry
7. Get Your Rocks Off
8. The Death of Emmett Till
9. Odds and Ends
10. Sign on the Cross
11. Tiny Montgomery
12. I Wanna Be Your Lover
13. Eternal Circle [Alternate Version]

Dave Ellis

Album (1973)

Dave Ellis is an influential English folk guitarist, singer and composer whose music is extremely difficult to categorise, due to its unique diversity and combination of styles. His early instrumental influences include guitarist Bert Jansch.
Ellis' first vinyl album called "Album" (1973) won strong critical praise and is regarded as a classic, but the opportunity presented by acclaimed national TV and radio appearances (on such now-legendary TV shows as The Old Grey Whistle Test) was inexplicably never seized by his record company, at a time when the solo acoustic guitarist/singer-songwriter needed all the promotion they could get, no matter how good the material or performances.
As result of the lack of promotional follow-up at that time, Ellis's guitar prowess has remained one of the best kept secrets of the guitar fraternity, influencing such successful artists as Mark Knopfler.

01. I Have Been Amazed (lyric)
02. I Don't Know (lyrics)
03. Foxtrot
04. Can You Tell Me (lyrics)
05. Autumn Love Skip
06. Let Me Sing You Psalms (lyrics)
07. Interlude
08. Something Wrong (lyrics)
09. The Last Girl (lyrics)
10. Five Knuckle Shuffle
11. Smile for Me (lyrics)
12. Jingle
13. You I Love You (lyrics)
14. Nose Rag
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