Right. Now I’ve a spare minute or two, time to get some reviews in. First up, a 2fer from folk rock practitioners Decameron.
Largely forgotten since their heyday, Decameron – name derived from the Boccaccio writings, not the shiny-foreheaded git currently residing at 10 Downing Street – were a Cheltenham-formed folk rock combo that released four albums during the 1970s and were, for a while, managed by none other than Jasper Carrott.
Their debut album, Say Hello to the Band, was originally released in 1973 and is an enjoyable, if mostly unremarkable slice of folk rock, fashioned in very much the same vein as HFoS favourites, Lindisfarne.
album reviews, folk, folk rock, prog rock
Call me a tenuous bandwagon-jumper, if you like. I readily hold my hands up.
Well, it is Halloween, so what better than a horrifying mix of prog, psych and folk to blow the cobwebs from your proverbial tombstones?
folk, mixtapes, prog rock, psychedelic rock
As England shivers beneath an onslaught of unseasonably harsh weather, Sunbeam Records continues its ongoing mission to explore strange new (old) sounds, to seek out new (old) music and artistes, to boldly go where no reissue label has gone before. And with the autumnal battering the country is presently undergoing*, what better time to take a listen to this latest reissue, Bruce Janaway’s Puritanical Odes; what is a prime example of the miserable-bastard fest and musical sub-genre nowadays referred to as ‘downer folk’.
They don’t come much more arcane than this slice of 1977 acid folk. It began life as a private pressing of just 200 vinyl copies, which was then circulated among a selective audience. Far out!
Shot through with a lyrical bitterness that underlines Janaway’s apparent disgust with this mess of a world, through painfully crafted metaphor and the minimalist acid folk sound he employs, Puritanical Odes is six acoustic songs (entitled ‘Odes’ A to E and ‘Labour Pains’) performed on the 12-string guitar. There is no accompaniment other than the occasional haunting choral shriek and disconcerting bursts of erratic feedback.
acid-folk, album reviews, folk
HFoS is presently on summer holiday, hence the lackadaisical approach to posting over the past week, this week and, indeed, the next. Never fear, we were allowed to bring our games in on the last day of term and even wear our own clothes, which is always a bonus. I, myself, chose Game of Dracula and proceeded to thrash all comers. The soundtrack to this final day of inertia at HFoS Towers happened to be this rare beauty: Tudor Lodge, a fine old dose of progressive folk rock, by the band of the same name.
Originally released in 1971, Tudor Lodge is as pleasant as an English pasture. A testament to inoffensive, folkie fun by a trio of lovely people, sporting lovely tunes.
A foul night on the beer could find a mid-morning salve from a listen to the 13 tracks that sit innocuously on this splendid reissue. Largely acoustic, this is what it sounded like in certain quarters of England during the late 60s and early 70s. Hell’s teeth! One wishes it was still the same – long hair, flutes, the occasional piano and a soft voice guiding you onto the jagged rocks, courtesy of the ethereal timbre Ann Steuart traded in.
album reviews, folk, folk rock, progressive folk
One glance at the cover of Wil Malone and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a selection of eerie psychedelic folk tracks, ethereal and spooky enough to send a shiver down the spine, such is the otherworldly aura given off by titular artist and ex-member of psychedelic group The Orange Bicycle. I know I did.
However, nothing could be further from the truth, as this is a strictly singer/songwriter affair, more in tune with Mr. Cat (Stevens) than Mr. Fox.
Released in 1970, Wil Malone sank without trace, but such is the profile that its creator has gone on to enjoy as both an arranger and composer, original pressings now exchange hands for in excess of £2000. That’s 2000 of the Queen’s very own pounds. Imagine that.
Obviously, those of the more money than sense persuasion are paying for the kudos associated with owning such a rare artefact, just as a private collector might pay billions for a stolen Mona Lisa, because, truth be told, if you’d just weighed in with a couple of grand for listening pleasure alone, you may be more than a little disappointed.
album reviews, folk
Any compilation that features the song from the maypole scene in The Wicker Man is going to have something going for it.
Strange Folk is a collection of folk songs, some from the 1960s and 1970s, and others more recent, which share a dark or decidedly unusual edge. The 19 tracks hereon range from the eerie, in Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man’s ‘Mysteries’, to the unintentionally terrifying with the Incredible String Band’s masterclass in cat-strangling, tuneless dirgemaking ‘Saturday Maybe’.
But don’t let the inclusion of those enemies of the carried note put you off – skip buttons could well have been invented with these forte-free fiends in mind – as Strange Folk manages to erase any bad Incredible String-based experiences with some shrewdly chosen musical remedies.
acid-folk, folk, psych-folk