Clearing (1970) Who is in my Temple (LP)

Clearing

Who is in my Temple 

circa 1970

*** noteworthy


Clearly coming from 1960s’ folk but like classic UK outfits from this era, this is influenced by the music of other places and times.  And like the late-60s folk from the British Isles, this is superior to most commercial folk from the US.

It’s mostly vocal cuts, a mix of originals and traditional songs, and also features a few instrumentals–including a wonderful mandolin/dulcimer rendering of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”


The intimate basement sound makes this a window to another time, a view through a basement window to a candle-making collective trying to deal with the death of the 60s. It’s also a musical exploration of the innocent Boston beginnings of the Unitarian Universalists. Most important, it’s a rare gem for fans of folk music from this long-gone era.  You can almost smell those sand candles burning.

 

— winch (author of…

 

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David Amram (1979) No More Walls (LP) Flying Fish (GRO-752)

David Amram

No More Walls

1979

Flying Fish GRO-752

**** recommended
With all that was going on in 1979, the music scene was also plagued with stagnation. Disco music was transforming into hip-hop and electronic music but few were taking notice because disco sucked. Punk had reminded the world that rock doesn’t always need to progress: it can go back to its roots to refuel the fury but few cared because while disco sucked, punk swallowed. The underground scene had been slowly growing for years and soon a diverse independent music scene would emerge but it would be a long time before most took notice because in the 1970s the major labels had perhaps more control of the industry than ever before.


The executives had sorted through the countless bands and perhaps during a year or so in the 1970s, positive (and of course negative) repercussions existed. But by 1979, it was clear that the major labels were completely clueless and the music scene was suffering.


Of course a few minor labels had somehow managed to survive, perhaps because they focused on music that was so unhip that the major labels didn’t care. These labels posed no threat. Flying Fish was one of those independent labels and while they focused on folk music, they were also giving home to artists such as Amram. This was one of many Amram released on Flying Fish, and certainly one of his most interesting. And enjoyable.  While the liner notes only mention that Amram created these compositions from 1959 to 1971, they don’t mention that this is likely a reissue of the second half of a double album released on RCA Red Seal in 1971.  (Flying Fish were perhaps keen enough to recognize that the second two sides of the original release deserved to be revisited without the classical content of the first two sides.)


The title likely refers to the breaking down of walls between genres of music. Influences appear to be plentiful: Latin-American, African, and Near-Eastern music; folk musicians such as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan; and some of the more innovative jazz musicians of the previous decades, especially those who incorporated world influences–from Yusef Lateef in the 50s to the ECM artists of the 70s. Mostly laid-back as a hammock swaying in an ocean breeze, this also has plenty of depth. Recommended listen.

— winch (author of…

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Blind Date (1979) S/T (LP)Windsong (BXL 1–3403)

Blind Date

Blind Date

1979

Windsong Records (BXL 1–3403)

Produced by Jeff Glixman

*** noteworthy
Sole album by this mystery group, power pop on John Denver’s Windsong label with Arnie Badd, Brad Billion, Dane Bramage, and Pinky Chablis. While they don’t sound like Cheap Trick, it’s sort of the same idea, power pop with focus on pounding drums and electric guitar (and of course vocals, harmony and melody), lots of content about love but also the violent crime of “Trouble Maker.”  This is power pop but not the soft-rock or candy-coated bubblegummy brand, somewhere between the Raspberries and Thin Lizzy, the Babys and Van Halen.

Both sides end with hard-rock content, the instrumental “Twin Engines” closing the first side, the 5+ minute “Midnight Imagination,” ending the proceedings. This closer brings the Beach Boys influence into power ballad mode, bridging 60s’ pop and 70s’ excess to the power ballads of the 80s, the straight-forward aspects of 70s glam and the excesses of the glam of the 80s. Mostly it’s the Beach Boys channeled through 70s hard rock.


While this is varied set, it’s fairly entertaining through both sides and even the filler falls into the background without becoming annoying. This group never comes close to the best of the power poppers, but they’re also obviously a few notches above the bland new wavers from this era. It’s pure juvenile fun, all songs written and arranged by Blind Date.

— winch

author of

 

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