Tony, Caro and John “All on the First Day”

A couple decades before the city of Derby in the rural midlands of England was awarded city status by Queen Elizabeth II (1977), residents Tony Doré and John Clark had become boon companions at the tender age of 11. In this gentle and eminently civil environment they quickly began to play music together in various rock bands or “beat groups” as they were then called, eventually stepping up to the folk club circuit in the surrounding boroughs of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

It is this same bucolic atmosphere of the mid-60’s folk scene in the UK with its competing elements of traditional folk and experimentation that gave rise to phenomena like the Incredible String Band, an admitted inspiration to friends, and in Doré and Clark’s own words “We were just ‘being there'”. After the summer of love the pair temporarily parted company to attend university, Doré in London and Clark in Sheffield. It is in London that Tony and Caro met and began gigging university folk clubs together. After graduation in ’70 John moved into Tony and Caro’s London flat turned sunny commune complete with Zinnias, Dahlias, homemade candles and herbal tea.

It was here that the three started recording the songs that Doré was writing onto an extremely low-tech Ferrograph tape recorder with track-to-track capabilities. The painful sounding process that required a person to play over a pre-recorded backing track with a simultaneous mixdown did not forgive any mistakes. However it is precisely this aspect that lends the recording of “All In One Day” its considerable home-spun appeal. The trio pressed 100 vinyl copies through Eden Studios of south London in ’72 that quickly sold at their shows. There are now a number of reissues available on Gaarden and Shadoks.

The music on “All In One Day” radiates a beguiling charm and simplicity throughout. The arrangements are unpretentious but not unadorned, boasting of delightful vocal harmonies, interesting instrumentation like mandolin and flageolet, and inventive musicianship for a folk album like the subtle use of bass-wah and low-key fuzz. Tony’s voice is clear and reminiscent of early acoustic Bowie, while his wife’s hazily glowing voice on sentimental numbers like “Waltz for a Spaniel” recalls Vashti Bunyan.

While there is definitely an unity of aesthetic on “All In One Day”, the album is eclectic in its musical style, ranging from the unabashedly romantic “Waltz for a Spaniel” to the personally fractured and sardonic “There Are No Greater Heroes” and on to the humorous and playful “Don’t Sing This Song” in total stride. “Sniggylug” is the cut that seems the most out of step with the rest of the album, though no less pleasant with its guitar work reminiscent of modern North African Tuareg and its tongue-in-cheek 6/8 time jazz sensibilities. “Eclipse of the Moon” is a psyche folk gem with its surreal dreamscape lyrics, chilly reverbed slide guitar, playful mouth harp, tasteful fuzz guitar and trippy delayed vocal decrescendo at the end. It is impressive that they were able to include relatively sophisticated studio tricks like the backwards guitar and the sounds of seabirds on tracks like “Sargasso Sea”, a dark metaphorical sea chantey with allusions to William Blake and Coleridge.

After the release of “All In One Day”, the trio added musicians here and there and started playing under the moniker “Forever and Ever”, an irony however in that they never released another album and were eventually swallowed by time. The overall feel of “All In One Day” is relaxed though at times bittersweet and poignant, almost as if Doré unconsciously realized that by the early 70s something precious had come and gone; the Zinnia’s and Dahlia’s are now dried and pressed into the volume of Shelly’s poems on the mantle, the candles are burnt, but the music of Tony, Caro and John speaks to us still in our comfy chairs by the hearth.

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“Eclipse Of The Moon”

:D CD Reissue | 2002 | Shadoks | buy here ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1972 | UK | search ebay ]
:) Vinyl Reissue | 2010 | Gaarden Records | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]


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8 Comments.

  • thevandalstookmyhandle

    Thanks for the informative post. I love exploring all this music I missed while being busy growing up. Yet again, you’re getting me to spend some money and get this economy going! On a side note, I’m really enjoying the fact that you are posting a lot more, as you said you would. A big THANK YOU!

  • Dillon M

    Thanks for this post. I bought this record from Shadoks and have been listening to it non stop as of late. Such a great discovery.

  • We recently reissued this record on vinyl!
    http://www.gaardenrecords.com

    Also Gaarden Records will soon be releasing some remastered. post AOTFD Tony Caro and John stuff. As well as a new album by Tony Dore’ of the band. AMAZING! Busy busy year! Such good stuff, can’t wait to share it…
    Should be available on Itunes and everywhere else soon!

  • Brendan

    @anthony, thanks for getting in touch about your reissue. At first, I had trouble finding your site but I have updated the post with a link to the vinyl. Just curious, did you guys use an alternate sleeve or is the image on your reissue the original?

  • jess

    i spent all yesterday listening to these two songs. god bless the rising storm

  • EveWhite

    Tony Doré of Tony Caro and John has just released a new album on Gaarden Records; “Fall Away Like Leaves” which hearkens back to the haunting psych classic 1972 self release “All On The First Day”.
    Available for preview and download on iTunes and on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=fall+away+like+leaves&x=14&y=16

    This new collection of songs features Doré on just about every string instrument imaginable, tenor guitar, bazouki, sitar, ukelele, 12 string, banjo, mandolin, and more. This album was recorded in Houston, Texas and Limousin, France in 2009-2010 by Rod Jones. Other players include Rod Jones, Rob Jones, and Mel Jones, Barbara and Jenny Doré, Emilio Garciacaro, and John Clark. For all fans of psychedelic folk, cerebral songwriting, and Tony Caro and John.

  • fyi.
    The original cover for AOTFD was a hand stenciled design that was digitized for the Shadoks CD reissue. For the LP reissue, we decided to use these colorful photos of the band in a garden instead. The other alternative in my opinion being to hand stencil the lot. I am truly happy with the way they turned out!!!

  • I came in on the latter part of this period, joining in just after the ‘All on the first day’ album had been pressed. Now, after many years, Tony and I are completing an album that represents a hyphen between then and now. And a culmination of all those years between and the musical experiences we have gone through. It’s amazing to think that, after a friendship of over 40 years, despite playing together and contributing to each other’s music, this is the first time we have sat down and written songs together. So look out for ‘The Festival At The End Of The World’…soon. Simon Burrett.

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