Posts Tagged ‘ 1972 ’

Townes Van Zandt “The Late Great Townes Van Zandt”

There are numerous passing references to Townes Van Zandt in these pages, but until now the nearest he’s come to a dedicated post is the uReview of his 1968 freshman album For The Sake Of A Song which examines its debatably elaborate orchestration and production. But whatever the issues concerning the debut, there’s no doubt that by this 1972 offering, the last from his fertile five-year period on Poppy/Tomato, he’d got his recording process exactly right. The accompaniments on this collection display a variety appropriate to the varying nature of the songs, yet the playing is so restrained and spare and the production so sympathetic that they never intrude: indeed, the fiddles, Dobros, mandolins, pianos, electric guitars, bass and drums, whilst played by a coterie of lesser-known Nashville virtuosi, are often almost ghostly in their presence. This of course suits what another reviewer called Townes’s “thin maudlin voice” down to the ground and results in as atmospheric an outing as anyone in the country-rock genre had ever produced up to that time. The subsequent long line of haunting Americana featuring such luminaries as the Cowboy Junkies, Uncle Tupelo and Lambchop could be said to start here.

Beyond the two covers of fifties country standards and one Guy Clark number, Townes’s own songs generally evoke the solitude and destitution of his chosen beat/hobo life and are inevitably coloured by his prodigious alcohol intake and substance abuse; indeed the album title itself, though actually about twenty-five years premature, is a wry reference to the near-death episode prior to this recording in which fellow toper Jerry Jeff Walker discovered him comatose after a cocktail of heroin, cocaine and vodka and obtained medical assistance just in time. Townes harks back to the debut album with a less limpid reworking of “Sad Cinderella”, relying mainly on a gentle piano to support the more homely vocal. The peerless ballad “Pancho And Lefty”, probably his best known composition and covered by enough A-list country artists to guarantee him a modest pension had he survived long enough to draw it, juxtaposes his own Kerouac-style wandering existence with those of the bandit/folk hero Pancho Villa and Lefty, a blues singer who ends up broke and busted in Cleveland; the disconcerting chord changes in the verses are soothed by gorgeous Mariachi trumpets on the choruses. “If I Needed You” is perhaps the simplest and most effecting yearning country love song since Dylan’s “If Not For You” and has also been covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris. Townes makes one of his occasional offhand forays into acoustic blues on “German Mustard” accompanied only by fine slide guitar from one Rocky Hill, who presumably also provides the Dobro on the cover of Clark’s almost-optimistic “Don’t Let The Sunshine Fool Ya” and smooth lap steel on the respectfully authentic rendering of Hank Senior’s classic “Honky Tonkin’”. The penultimate “Silver Ships Of Andilar” is an untypical maritime folk ballad recalling Coleridge’s Rime Of The Ancient Mariner with unexpectedly powerful orchestration and choral decoration. To my mind the only weak track on the album is the closing “Heavenly Houseboat Blues”, a flaccid spiritual not quite rescued by fine fiddle and mandolin playing.

If Cecil Ingram Parsons was the tragic Crown Prince of country rock, Townes Van Zandt was its Great Pretender, forever waiting in the wings and seemingly resigned to doing so. Despite a much longer career than Gram, he remains one of country rock’s better kept secrets. Gleaners of his legacy can do a lot worse than starting here, but anyone strongly into this sort of music who decides to go straight for the amazing-value Texas Troubadour box set won’t be disappointed.

mp3: Pancho and Lefty
mp3: If I Needed You

:) Original | 1972 | Poppy | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 1994 | Tomato | buy ]

Ticket “Awake”

Ticket’s Awake is one of the best classic rock/psych albums from a surprisingly fertile late 60s/early 70s New Zealand scene.  Ticket’s roots trace back to several late 60s blues rock and pop groups: the Challenge, the Blues Revival and the Jamestown Union. Despite hitting the top 20 with the funky rural rocker “Country High” and recording two albums, Ticket’s popularity never broke out of the Aussie/New Zealand territories.

Awake’s contents were made up of several single sides issued in 1971 and some new studio material that date from 1972.  Hendrix, Cream and Traffic are the primary influences heard on Awake but Ticket’s funky rhythm section, rural overtones and complex song structures make them a distinct entity. The vocals of Trevor Tombleson are a fine mixture of Steve Winwood soul and Jack Bruce grit.  This vocal style is showcased on the group’s 8 minute psych gem “Dream Chant,” which is arguably the group’s finest moment on plastic.  “Broken Wings” and “Angel On My Mind” are strong Hendrix influenced originals with excellent guitar work courtesy of Eddie Hansen.   Hansen takes the spotlight on “Highway of Love” and “Reign Away,” both of which feature funky guitar licks and impressive soloing.  Two and a half minutes into “Reign Away” Hansen unleashes a devastating feedback drenched psych solo that is worth the price of admission alone.  Most of the tracks exceed the 5 minute mark but the group never succumb to aimless jamming – this band was as tight as a drum and knew exactly where to take the song.  A “must own” if early Mighty Baby, Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Traffic are your cup of tea – every track is a winner.

Aztec Music reissued this classic Kiwi acid rock album on cd in 2010.  It’s a bit pricey ($25 – $30) but well worth the money as an original vinyl copy of Awake will set you back $200 – $300.

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“Reign Away”

:D Reissue | 2010 | Aztec | buy ]
:) Original | 1972 | Atlantic | search ebay ]

Tranquility (S/T)

If you ever wondered what the love child of the Bee Gees and Crosby, Stills and Nash would sound like, wonder no more – the pointy-headed creature would sound like Tranquility.

The story of short-lived career of Tranquility is a difficult one to track; now largely forgotten, the band has neither a biography at AllMusic or a Wikipedia page. A fairly short history of the band’s 1971-1974 duration can be found on a page dedicated to Vanity Fare, but aside from that, little exists on the Internet about Tranquility.

The dichotomy of a band that references the Bee Gees and CSN in equal measure is not surprising, considering the band’s origins. According to the Vanity Fare page:

“The band was formed in 1971 by Ashley Kozak, formerly Donovan’s manager, and built around the song writing abilities of Terry Shaddick. Kozak had long wished for a “…gentle tranquil band that could create it own hybrid of pop, rock and English folk music” (CBS Inner Sleeve Issue III, 1973), and in Shaddick, he saw the focal point for creation of just such a band.”

From the meager info provided by AllMusic, it appears that Shaddick had a hand in all of the songs featured on Tranquility, and satisfied the intent of Kozak’s wishes, if not the spirit; Shaddick and company rarely hybridize pop, rock and English folk, but hit each of the points individually, song-by-song.

The best songs on Tranquility lean more toward folk; album opener “Try Again” is all innocuous confessional lyrics married to acoustic guitars and tight harmonies. Likewise, “Look at the Time, It’s Late” mimics the best of the Bee Gees’ late-60s-early 70s pop. Just as many times, the album aims for CSN or the Bee Gees and misses; “Lady of the Lake,” “Ride Upon the Sun,” and “Walk Along the Road” are pleasant but forgettable.

“Oyster Catcher” and “Black Current Betty” are almost jarringly out-of-place on an album full of CSN-lite offerings. Both songs recall 1967-68, when, inspired by Sgt. Pepper, every British album had to include a few music hall-type numbers full of twee Angliophilia. Of the two songs, “Black Current Betty” (which I’m almost certain should be “Black Currant Betty,” and the writer on the Vanity Fare page agrees) is the most listenable, even if “Penny Lane,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or even “Hello Hello” by Sopwith Camel got there first and more memorably.

Tranquility is hardly a buried classic, even if the Vanity Fare page claims that  the band “blew more than one big-name U.S. band off the stage.” All this begs the question: are some bands/albums better lost to history?

In the case of Tranquility’s 1972 self-titled debut, that depends on your tolerance for an album that veers wildly between introspective singer-songwriter offerings featuring CSN-type harmonies and English pop that would have sounded at home on Chad & Jeremy’s Of Cabbages and Kings.

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“Try Again”

:) Original | 1972 | Epic | search ebay ]
:) Reissue | 2004 | Rock & Groove | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Delbert and Glen “Delbert & Glen”

Delbert and Glen were a country-rock group that was founded by two Texas musicians, Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark. Prior to that, McClinton, a musician’s musician, had began his career in the late 50s, playing harmonica on Bruce Channel’s classic 1961/1962 hit single “Hey! Baby.” After touring with Channel in England, McClinton went on to form his own mid 60s folk-rock group, the Rondells. The Rondells kicked around the Fort Worth scene, recording some material (but never an official album), most famously, the orignal version of “If You Really Want Me To, I’ll Go” (covered by the Sir Douglas Quintet). When McClinton relocated to LA, he met up with Fort Worth musician Glen Clark. These two musicians recorded two very good Texas-style country-rock albums for Atlantic affliate Clean Records.

Delbert and Glen was the first of these efforts, released in 1972. Songwriting credits are split evenly between the two artists but McClinton’s harmonica playing and hoarse, soulful vocals were the highlight of this LP. Delbert and Glen differentiated themselves from the twangy country-rock crowd by crafting a unique mixture of ballsy, intimate texas music: greasy blues, hillbilly country music, gospel, raucous rock n roll, and funky Southern-style jive. The 1972-1973 era was a prolific time for both musicians as they served up a handful of lost Americana classics. Songs such as “Old Standby,” “I Received A Letter,” “Here Come The Blues,” “I Feel The Burden,” “Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday,” and “Ain’t What You Eat But the Way That You Chew It” are wonderful examples of the genre. My hit picks are the gorgeous, soulful pop of “Everyday Will Be A Holiday,” the tough rocking album opener “Old Standby” (what a great track!) and the underrated country tune “All Them Other Good Things.” Alternative country and country-rock fans cannot miss this gem and are urged to track down these recordings – they are essential. Also, check out the duo’s worthy swan song from 1973, titled Subject To Change.

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“Old Standby”

:D Reissue | 2005 | Koch Records | buy here ]
:) Original | 1972 | search ebay ]

The Rondells (1965): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVBKm8xo2rI

Roger Morris “First Album”

Roger Morris’ First Album, released by Emi/Regal Zonophone in 1972, stakes a claim as one of the most American sounding British-folk albums of the seventies. Along with the painfully obscure solo album by Ernie Graham, First Album is one of a handful of rustic singer-songwriter lps of the era that landed unjustly under the radar. Owing much to the back-to-the-roots sound and vibe of The Band, Bobby Charles, and Hungry Chuck, and falling somewhere in between the British folk of the late 60s, the British country-rock of the early 70s, and the pub rock renaissance that would follow several years later, this album features contributions from a host of talented British musicians, including: the popular De Lisle Harper; Glen Campbell of Juicy Lucy and The Misunderstood; Family’s John Weider; Rod Coombes of Strawbs and later, Stealer’s Wheel; Chris Mercer; Terry Stannard of Kokomo; and Bruce Rowlands of the Greaseband. Obviously, the playing on this album is top notch. Furthermore, Morris comes across as a surprisingly accomplished songwriter.

On album opener “Taken for Granted” Morris mourns the loss of past loves to the tune of a folky country-rock number that calls to mind the early work of Help Yourself, as well as Ian Matthews. “Golightly’s Almanac” has a funky Bearsville ragtime feel, complete with a Tuba holding down the low end and a catchy horn part, sounding very similar to The Band’s “Rag Mama Rag” or Hungry Chuck’s “Hats Off America.” Morris’ vocals, which can sometimes be hit or miss, really excel on “Showdown”, one of the standout tracks of the set.  “Northern Star” features some tasty pedal steel and fiddle riffing courtesy of talented multi-instrumentalist John Weider, while “Livin’ On Memories” sounds similar to “Orange Juice Blues” off of The Basement Tapes, with Morris taking a cue from Richard Manuel’s vocal phrasing.

Morris’ account of one man’s experience in the years after the Civil War ,“All My Riches,” is his equivalent to The Band’s epic “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Morris’ tune, while not a total failure, never comes close to reaching the heights of The Band’s legendary song. If there’s any complaint to be made about First Album, it would be that Morris’ influences are worn right on his sleeves. However, this was in fact his first album, so you’ve gotta give the guy a break for letting his influences show a little bit.

Needless to say, First Album is essential listening for fans of the rustic Americana The Band perfected on their first three records, as well as fans of Silver Pistol era Brinsley Schwarz, early McGuiness Flint and Help Yourself, and Matthews Southern Comfort. Simply one of the best obscure British folk/Americana flavored singer-songwriter lps of the era, this one is worth tracking down. Although this, his first lp, was virtually ignored upon its initial release, Roger would later find his audience when he went on to achieve international recognition as the guitarist in The Psychedelic Furs. In 2009 Bella Terra Presents released a tastefully remastered limited edition cd reissue featuring four previously unreleased bonus tracks that were recorded just a year after First Album, as well the original album artwork and a lyric sheet insert. That same year Lilith Records released a version pressed on 180 gram vinyl. Take your pick!

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“Showdown”

:) Original | 1972 | Regal Zonophone | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2009 | Riverman | get it here ]

Randy Holland “Cat Mind”

There are many different kinds of records. Some latch onto you almost immediately and either stand the test of time or else slip away as easily as they came. Randy Holland’s 1972 album Cat Mind is the other kind; those unusual and sometimes uneven records that take more than one listen to fully appreciate. Released on the independent Mother Records label, it can probably be said that Cat Mind never had a chance at real commercial success. But hell, we’re not interested in the commercial success here – we’re after good records, wherever they ended up and in whatever condition. And Cat Mind is a good record.

Looking at that stark, black and white cover shot you’re probably expecting a good deal of grit here, and the opening cut doesn’t disappoint in that department. The off-kilter flower child stomp of “Bless the Naked Days” also wastes no time introducing the listener to Holland’s rough and nasally voice; a voice which he tends to push to the limits, and often far beyond. Depending on where you’re coming from, I reckon this could either be an acquired taste or a real attraction.

Following this first number, “Colors of Sad” is bizarrely saccharine, and it’s this vivid contrast between wildness and melancholy which perhaps defines this record more than anything else. Holland tilts mercilessly between incisive, jagged rock and roll numbers and melodramatic country cuts, with very little sense of transition or artistic compromise. His uncredited backup band really shines, especially on the former, where they lay down some of the most righteous country-stained rock this side of
Wray’s Shack Three Track. The hot swamp growl of “Muddy Water” is a real highlight, as is the weird title track, graced with scorching Davie Allan-style guitar work and an insistent rhythm section. Holland’s forays into the tamer side of Americana are more hit-and-miss, giving us both the warm and gentle “Ladybug” and an unfortunately overwrought reading of Mickey Newbury’s “Remember the Good”.

Fortunately, however, even the most underwhelming cuts are outweighed by the grittier numbers, and the overall quality and unique character of Cat Mind really does warrant it the kind of reissue treatment afforded so many other lost jewels of the period, such as Vernon Wray’s Wasted. As it stands, it isn’t all that hard to track down a used copy for a decent price. And what ever happened to Randy Holland? From what it looks like, he retired his attempts at making it in the music scene not long after cutting this record and moved to Las Vegas, where he opened an art gallery and devoted the rest of his days to painting and poetry. He passed away a few years ago, truly making this his one and only album.

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“Muddy Water”

:) Private | 1972 | search ebay ]

Gallery “Nice to be with You”

In 1972 Sussex Records released the first and only lp by the Detroit based pop group Gallery, fronted by singer/songwriter Jim Gold. Nice to be with You was produced and arranged by none other than legendary Motown axe-slinger extraordinaire and fuzzy funk brother Dennis Coffey (who also served as producer on the cult classic psych/folk/funk lp Cold Fact by Rodriguez) and his partner in crime, sleeper soul and funk producer Mike Theodore. Gallery’s sole lp is an entertaining slice of wax with a mostly soft-rock vibe that runs the gamut from country-rock to pop-psych to doo-wop to funk, and back again to pop–all the while standing side by side with soft-rock contemporaries of the time like Bread as well as soft-psych folk rock luminaries like Jim Sullivan. Thanks in no small part to the killer team of Coffey and Theodore, a handful of nice production touches really add to the tunes and result in album that stands a cut above many of the soft-rock releases of the time.

The boys kick it off with “Island in the Sun”, a sunny pop tune complete with harpsichord, glockenspiel, marimba, and pedal steel riffs with a Southern Pacific vibe. Things really start to get interesting with the next track, “Louisiana Line,” when acoustic guitar and twangy Telecaster give way to a funky country-rock tune with even more tasteful touches on the pedal steel guitar. Sounding like a slightly funkier version of Poco, the song calls to mind several of the more upbeat tunes on Ian and Sylvia’s excellent funky rural lp Great Speckled Bird, as well as “Move Over” from Bread’s self titled 1969 lp. “Louisiana Line” stands out as one the premier cuts on the album with a funky backwoods beat, an extremely catchy chorus with three part harmonies, and tasty Telecaster twangin’. “Ginger Haired Man” mines similar territory as “Louisiana Line,” featuring bluesy harmonica blowing, and yet another irresistibly catchy chorus.

On the other side of the spectrum, “Gee Whiz” is a 50’s throwback flavored with a touch of doo-wop that calls to mind the the pop-country of the Everly Brothers and their classic tune  “All I Have to Do is Dream,” as well as the ubiquitous “Earth Angel.” “I Believe in Music” pairs a tasty tremolo guitar riff and cowbell with a pre-disco/later day Motown sound full of tambourines, slinky Stratocasters doin’ the disco dance, and of course, syrupy strings. Midway through the song a bold synthesizer make a well appreciated yet extremely unexpected appearance. “Big City Miss Ruth Ann,” the third and final single from the album, sounds like a more polished take on the roadhouse rock of fellow Michigan natives Riley.

The million selling (!) title track, “Nice to be WIth You” is disappointingly sappy, suffering from just a touch too much sentimentality and over-production. On the same token, “Lover’s Hideaway” and “He Will Break Your Heart” are throwaway tracks that lack lyrical depth, catchiness, and punch. If there’s one bum note concerning Nice to Be With You’, it would be that Side B lacks overall when compared with Side A. Furthermore, several of the tracks on Side B seem to make fervent use of blatantly recycled tropes from Side A. Still, the album as a whole is such an entertaining listen in the forgotten early 70s soft-rock vein that no slight lack of killer tracks on Side B is gonna keep this gem off your table.

All things considered, Nice to Be With You is an enjoyable listen by a talented young band that incorporates a handful of early 70s sounds. One minute Gallery recalls the classic pop-psych of Buffalo Springfield; another moment they recall a slightly less greasy Grandma’s Roadhouse; then they step back in time and channel the timeless sound of 50s AM pop; when you’re least expecting it they all of the sudden sound like the Bee Gees after they discovered that disco beat! The bottom line is this–if you’re into vintage pop music, Nice to Be With You has certainly got something that will undoubtably float your boat.

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“Louisiana Line”

:) Original | 1972 | Sussex | search ]
:D Reissue | 2010 | Fuel | buy ]

Hungry Chuck “Hungry Chuck”

I discovered Hungry Chuck serendipitously via Bobby Charles’s eponymous 1972 album. Beyond Charles’s inspirational songs I was fired by his core backing outfit’s astonishingly sympathetic funky swamp-rock playing. I knew Amos Garrett already from his liquid-fingered guitar solo on Maria Muldaur’s sublime worldwide hit “Midnight At The Oasis”, but the other guys were strangers to me. On researching Garrett further with a view to identifying yet more stuff on which he’d played, I came across Hungry Chuck.

Former Eric Andersen sideman Garrett, original Remains drummer ND Smart II, ex-Bo Grumpus bassist Jim Colegrove and peripatetic New York pianist Jeffrey Gutcheon had backed Ian and Sylvia Tyson on their fine country-rock album Great Speckled Bird, recorded in Nashville in 1970. From there the four journeymen musicians moved to Woodstock, NY, and became effectively the house band for Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records, whence their contribution to the Bobby Charles opus, inter alia. With moonlighting pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith from Neil Young’s alternative backing combo Stray Gators and, curiously, session trumpeter Peter Ecklund, they became Hungry Chuck, presumably jokily named for underground cartoonist Dan Clyne’s repulsive character Hungry Chuck Biscuits (unconfirmed – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). In between backing Grossman’s extensive register of talent the guys found time to assemble their own album, which appeared eponymously as Hungry Chuck in the US in 1972 but did not find a release in the UK until retrospectively put out by See For Miles in 1988 as South In New Orleans.

Typical of most albums recorded by aggregations of talented sidemen, Hungry Chuck is a slow burner which rewards repeated listening: such outfits by definition don’t usually include chartbusting songwriters or throat-grabbing lead vocalists, but the quality of such works invariably shines through with a little aural rubbing. (To see what I mean, listen to anything by Area Code 615 or Barefoot Jerry, or any of David Lindley’s solo and El Rayo-X waxings.) Most of the songs are penned by Gutcheon; musically they’re an eclectic stew of country rock, Memphis soul and New Orleans jazzy swing, and lyrically they’re joyous deprecatory pokes at 1970s American post-hippie culture and obvious parodies of The Band, Zappa and even James Brown, all recorded with a high sense of humour and absolutely no commercial ambition. Garrett’s playing is comparatively restrained compared to his Speckled Bird output, though gloriously tasteful throughout; Colegrove’s bass is less quirky, more solid than on the Charles outing; and it’s Gutcheon’s virtuoso piano and Ecklund’s multitracked trumpet, cornet and fluegel that largely shape the arrangements. As well as the ten “proper” songs there are three episodes of playful studio nonsense credited to Smart and Garrett, presumably to give them a writer credit. Again typically for albums by such aggregations there are no real standout tracks, but the highlights include the swinging opener “Hats Off, America!” (which includes the splendidly prescient line “Tell your kids, don’t worry ‘cos the banks will never fail!”), the obvious Eagles skit “Watch The Trucks Go By” with great guest harmonica from Paul Butterfield, and the splendidly po-faced “All Bowed Down” which caricatures The Band at their most morose.

After this freshman album Hungry Chuck recorded a second, which to date remains unreleased – why? – and soon afterwards went their own ways, all being highly valued as sessioneers. Most notably, Garrett worked extensively with Maria Muldaur; Smart thumped the tubs for Gram Parsons’s Fallen Angels; Gutcheon was musical arranger for the disparate likes of Gladys Knight and Ringo Starr; and Keith stroked the strings for seven years with Uncle Neil. Proving that the split was not rancorous, the Chuck members also intermittently toured and recorded in various combinations almost until the turn of the century, and most still remain active in the business.

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“All Bowed Down”

:) Original Vinyl | 1972 | Bearsville | search ebay ]

Truck “Surprise! Surprise!”

Despite turning in one of the best forgotten pop records of the psych era, not much information can be found on the Malaysian band Truck. This may be due to their somewhat generic name, though I suspect it was their incredibly short lived existence as  a side project from the group “The October Cherries” that relegated them to obscurity.

Comprised of a fellow named Diaz and two brothers named Shotam, Truck released only one album, 1974’s Surprise, Surprise. The songs are solid throughout and certainly wouldn’t have been out of place on American radio of the time. On first listen, “Surprise, Surprise” certainly recalls “Odessy and Oracle”, but a few spins will reveal a strong Paul McCartney influence, especially the Wings-like use of the moog.

The vocals are reminiscent of Graham Nash, although I actually prefer Truck’s vocalist better. His doubletracked voice expertly navigates the songs, from the confident recitation of “Earth Song” to the soulful emoting of “Broken Chair”.

The most surprising aspect of this record is how consistent the songs are. There really isn’t a dud here- even the goofiness of “Take me Ohio” dissappears after multiple listens and becomes one of the more enjoyable tunes .

Surprise Surprise is a superbly crafted record, and it’s a shame not much more was ever heard of Truck. Luckily it has been reissued on Spanish label Guerssen, so it is relatively easy to find.

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“Surprise, Surprise”

:D CD Reissue | 2004 | Guerssen | buy here ]
:) Orig Vinyl | 1972 | search ebay ]

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 ]