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Fresh Maggots - Fresh Maggots CD (album) cover


Fresh Maggots


Prog Folk

3.79 | 27 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Fresh Maggots’ one and only album is one of the many semi-legendary rare vinyl issues that had their bubbles burst a bit when they started being reissued in the nineties. Thanks to technology bands like Spring, Mellow Candle, Jan Dukes de Grey, Comus, the Pentangle and many others whose music was previously known only as legend could now be listened to by the masses without having to sell vital organs to purchase a rare, obsolete original vinyl recording. And all those heavily-vested collectors cried.

Anyway, in some cases the real music lived up to the legends; in other cases the music turned out to be not really all that good. Fresh Maggots falls somewhere in between. One of the problems of course is the couple of decades or so that elapsed between when albums like this were first recorded, and when they finally showed up on CD. Things change over time, and some of this early progressive folk music hasn’t aged particularly well. Fresh Maggots were as na´ve as many other young people of their day and the sappy lyrics on many of these tracks will probably meet with rolled eyes or even derision by the more hard-boiled listeners of the 21st century. Also, the instrumentation was pleasantly contemporary over thirty-five years ago, but seems too sparse and simplistic today to be considered innovative or progressive. In today’s light most of these songs come across as lightweight and a bit vapid in some cases (especially the acoustic tracks where Mick Burgoyne isn’t ripping into some psych guitar chords like “And When She Laughs”, “Elizabeth R” and “Guzz Up”).

On the other hand a collection of earnestly-played mellow folk from a couple of teenagers can’t be all bad, and there are a few pretty bright spots here despite the almost complete lack of any commercial sensibility on the part of Burgoyne and acoustic guitarist Leigh Dolphin. “Balloon Song” had to be one of the earlier acid folk tunes to combine fuzz guitar and violin as lead instruments, and to good effect despite the trivial lyrics. “Rosemary Hill” is mostly acoustic but is well-accented by percussion including tin whistles and some sort of bell-sounding instrument – the acoustic guitar fingering sounds an awful lot like Simon & Garfunkel’s version of “Scarborough Fair” though.

“Frustration” seems to be the duo’s magnum opus, a six minute long languid acoustic number that shifts midway to some excellent fuzz psych guitar wrapped around torrid violin, both played by Burgoyne. A stellar number that I would have thought beyond the ability of a couple of teenagers. Turns out I was wrong.

Most of many reissues include a couple ‘bonus’ tracks – “Car Song” and “What Would You Do”. Neither adds or detracts from the original, although I’d speculate in saying these may have been included simply as a way of extending the CD to a legitimate album length since the original ran only about thirty-five minutes.

I’m glad I wasn’t one of those people who paid an exorbitant price for an original vinyl of this back before it came out on CD, as I don’t consider this to be an indispensable classic. But it is pretty decent, especially when considering the young age of the two guys who put it together. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t have more of a career, although by 1971 this sort of music was fading in favor of more bombastic prog rock so the timing of their births was probably unfortunate. Oh well; three stars solid, three and a half if I could give it that. Recommended to fans of Forest, Trees, Jan Dukes de Grey, Loudest Whisper and bands of that ilk.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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