Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mick Softley -Songs For Swingin' Survivors (1965)

Softley's debut LP is one of the rarest '60s British folk albums, and one of the most coveted by collectors. While it's not as musically impressive as it is collectable, it's notable as one of the first U.K. singer/songwriter folk albums in the contemporary style pioneered earlier in the U.S. by Bob Dylan and the North American performers Dylan inspired. Indeed, there were few others in Britain taking a similar approach at the time of Songs for Swingin' Survivors' release, with the exception of Donovan and perhaps Bert Jansch. Early Donovan is an unavoidable point of comparison when listening to this solo acoustic guitar album, both for the earnest social consciousness and romanticism, and also since Softley actually wrote a few songs covered by Donovan in 1965. One of them, "The War Drags On," appears here in Softley's own version, and while it's not as good as Donovan's, it's notable as one of the first protest songs to directly mention the Vietnam War. Softley isn't as good a singer or tunesmith as early Donovan, however; his voice is a bit on the nasal and restrained side, sometimes coming off a little like a male equivalent to how Marianne Faithfull sounded after her voice lowered. Other than "The War Drags On," the voice of protest is felt in "After the Third World War Is Over," but, in fact, Softley was a fairly versatile writer, espousing early Donovan-like romance in "All I Want Is a Chance" and "What Makes the Wind to Blow"; got-to-ramble troubadourisms in "Keep Movin' On"; and a surprisingly direct (for 1965) reference to cocaine addiction in the love lament "Jeannie." Not everything is youthful singer/songwriting, as there are also covers of "Strange Fruit," "The Bells of Rhymney," and Woody Guthrie's "Plains of the Buffalo," as well as a couple of folk-blues instrumentals. Though it might be a minor album in all, it's still a rather good one, more tuneful than many a mid-'60s folk record based around original material, with impressive guitar work, allmusic.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Changes-Fire of Life (1974, Apokalyptic/ Dark Folk)

This album has never been issued until now and is taken from tapes made during 1969 to 1974 by Robert Taylor and Nicholas Teslak. In theory they make simple acoustic guitar based folk music similar to Tir Na Nog, however this is much stranger and darker concern. The two performers were part of the 'Process' church, a cult like group that was obsessed with apocalypse, gothic doom and was also interested in Satan. They had a curious uniform of black clothes, clocks shoulder length hair and goatee beards. Taking themselves very seriously they were part of the proliferation of such post-hippie groups and were much seen in London and New York in the late sixties before splintering and falling apart. Musically this album is stark, very dark folk based songs with acoustic guitar, intense vocals, gothic lyrics and occasional harmony vocals and flutes. Fans of dark folk groups like Current 93 or Nature and Organisation will find much here that they will enjoy. Also fans of Comus, the legendary pagan psychedelic-folk band of the same era will find a companion album of similar sound and strangeness.
Because the artists take themselves so seriously this music can be slightly intimidating. I is fine musically but doesn't stand out emotionally, it is more haunting than moving. The first song 'Fire of Life' taken from is intense and unsettling with it's lyrics of 'the world if burning, in fact it sounds just like late period Swans and Michael Gira their leader singing. The second song 'Sweet Eve' is more normal sounding like Tir Na Nog with flute and delicate melodies. 'Bleeding Out Your Feelings Evermore' is a baroque ballad style song with a female joining on the vocals to excellent effect. 'Early Morning Hours of the Night' reminds of early Steve Tilston with a distant quality. 'Horizons That I See' has nice folk picking guitar and was written in a desert. A song fragment from a lost fuller work 'Satanic Hymn #2' is churning in the Comus style. 'The Stranger In The Mirrow' is a pagan Medieval styled ballad Last track 'Twilight of the West' is a ten minute epic recorded poorly but strangely this seems to add to the air of incense and intensity. This won't be an album that will appeal to everyone, but those attracted to the darker and stranger edges of psychedelic folk will find much to enjoy. These are essentially amateur tapes but there is enough here to entertain and occasionally put a chill up the spine, from the unbroken circle.

One of my all time favorites.
If you like folk, this is for you.
'Bleeding Out Your Feelings Evermore' has haunted me...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Panos Savvopoulos-Epeisodio (1971-Folk/ Acid Folk)

Just try this rare greek record...

Forgotten but not lost..

Many thanks to Aggeliki for this one...
One more from this guy coming soon..
Waiting for your comments..
Blue moon...Blue moon!!