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Trees - The Garden of Jane Delawney CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.79 | 94 ratings

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4 stars Here we have the real deal: an album of folk songs ably performed by folk musicians who have decided to use rock instruments and give their songs--many of them traditional British folk songs--prog rock arrangements. The engineering and sound, the arrangements, and the performances, both individually and collectively, are of the highest caliber. There is a lot of Neil Young feel to the lead electric guitar.

1. "Nothing Special" (4:29) opening the album with one of the band's original compositions, we hear a rather raw sounding strumming electrified 12-string guitar before the band joins in and the lead electric guitar launches into an emotional solo straightaway. Interesting! This guitarist has a lot to say! He may not be as flashy or polished as others but he is skilled, smooth, and confident. Lead vocalist Celia Humphris has a very nice voice of the crystalline higher register persuasion. (8/10)

2. "The Great Silkie" (5:11) * arranged with soft instrumentation--acoustic instruments able to stand above the muted electric ones--at least for the first 90 seconds as Celia sings. The band then shifts into a heavier, electric- centric stretch with more active drums and not one, not two, but three forward tracks dedicated to screaming electric guitars, all soloing at the same time. Everything settles back into the folkie sound of the opening for the final 30 seconds and Celia's final verse. (9/10)

3. "The Garden Of Jane Delawney" (4:05) a delicate folk song that opens with harpsichord before Celia's very soft, breathy voices launches into a painfully sad sounding song. Supported by softly picked nylon-string guitars, a second track of her voice is added in harmony as the multiple guitars become more active and the harpsichord returns. A very impressively arranged and delivered song--another of the band's originals. (9/10)

4. "Lady Margaret" (7:09) * an arrangement of a very familiar ("classic") folk song that has a sound like BLIND FAITH's "Can't Find My Way Home." Unfortunately there is not much excitement or development to this one except in the story itself and, of course, in the amped up psychedelic instrumental jam at the end (though the sudden addition of reverb on Celia's voice in the fourth minute and the subtle Stephen Stills-like electric guitar solo in the fifth minute are pretty cool). Still, this is probably the most memorable song from the album. (14/15)

5. "Glasgerion" (5:15) * single note on the high E string of the electric guitar provides the metronome for the first minute of the song as all instruments and Celia rise and gel in order to deliver and support this classic melody. The instrumental arrangement is very cool but I fear that Celia falls "out of the pocket" a few times with her delivery of the intricate lyrics. (9/10)

6. "She Moved Thro' The Fair" (8:04) * A unique rendering of a classic song. I love the dichotomy of the very slow vocal and acoustic guitar strum delivery coupled with the speed-walking of the bass finger picking on the second and third guitars. (13/15)

7. "Road" (4:33) a Trees original, there is a traditional feel to the foundational rhythms of this song while the electric and acoustic guitar work make it more BLIND FAITH-like. The alternation of male and then female voices for the four verses is nice. (8.75/10)

8. "Epitaph" (3:23) another Trees original that sounds very steeped in the structures and sounds of traditional British folk music, the vocal work by Celia Humphris here is quite skillful and impassioned. The bluesy lead acoustic guitar work--especially the matching of Celia's singing and vocalise is neat. (8.75/10)

9. "Snail's Lament" (4:39) the fifth and final Trees original opens with slow strummed electrified acoustic guitar before lead electric guitar and the rest of the band join in to support the twin-singing of Bias Bashall and Celia. Nice soft rock song, nicely constructed and rendered. (8.75/10)

Total time: 46:51

* Traditional songs

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and a brilliant example of early prog folk.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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