Written by: Kev Rowland
Here we have an album that has received almost mythic status since its initial release on the Pegasus label back in 1971. The band was the brainchild of Tony Durant, who provided vocals and both acoustic and electric guitars, and he was joined by bassist Michael Day and drummer Michael Gregory. But what really makes this the album it is, that he also brought in the trio of Janet Rogers (violin, backing vocals), Madeleine Bland (cello, piano, harmonium, backing vocals) and Vanessa Hall-Smith (violin, backing vocals). The two trios combine together to form glorious whole of progressive folk rock, and one can only wonder if Jeff Lynne and/or Roy Wood had come across these guys before deciding to take The Move in a very different direction as ELO.
There is a whimsy about this album, an Englishness, which is hard to describe. At times they remind me of ISB, at others it is more Gryphon, while then they mix in psychedelia to create something that is incredibly atmospheric and immediate. It is the type of album I can listen to all day, with Tony’s vocals often to the fore, with ethereal backing vocals creating a backdrop for the music to play against. Sometimes it is the bass leading the way, while at others it is the cello, so that although one trio supports the others it is often the other way around. I hadn’t come across this album prior to this reissue, but FDM are really showing the way in grabbing classic albums and then making them available with the true thought and care they deserve.
Firstly, they are keen to point out that this is a fully licenced reissue, nothing dodgy here. Also, being on FDM it is available on vinyl, but also being FDM they have extended it to a full double album with additional songs. The full package comprises the original album, which was released on the Pegasus label in the UK and Kingdom in France, plus a second disc of early demos and new recordings of old songs, including a 15 minute demo recorded by the band before they signed to Pegasus that only exists on a slightly-worn acetate. There is a 15 minute DVD with Tony Durant talking about the album and what happened to him and Fuchsia after the initial release, along with a 60″ square fold-out poster of the original album cover, which was drawn by Anne Marie Anderson (who also designed Caravan’s ‘Land Of Grey And Pink’), a 24pp A4 magazine, with Richard Morton Jack’s comprehensive ‘Flashback’ feature and a reproduction of Tony’s handwritten lyrics from the time, all in a gatefold sleeve, with new sleeve notes written by Tony, including his description of each track on the bonus album on heavyweight colour vinyl.
There is something incredibly magical about this album, one that I can easily play time and again. Majestic, wonderful, indispensable, essential, this is music from a time gone by brought back to life with care.
1. Gone With The Mouse
2. A Tiny Book
3. Another Nail
4. Shoes And Ships
5. The Nothing Song
6. Me And My Kite
7. Just Anyone