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Trees - On The Shore CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.60 | 83 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
4 stars TREES were a short-lived English Folk band who first emerged from the forest in 1969. They recorded two albums together: "The Garden of Jane Delawney" (1969) and "On the Shore" (1970). Neither album achieved commercial success and they were derided by the ignorant music press at the time as being a sound-alike Fairport Convention band. However, Trees particular brand of Folk music was a fairly unconventional blend of psychedelic and progressive Folk in a whole forest of English Folk bands. Their two original LP albums have grown from acorns to become much sought-after mighty oaks amongst record collectors. The 2007 CD re-issue of "On the Shore" included a bonus CD, consisting mostly of remixes of the original ten songs on the album.

We're setting off at a marching pace with "Soldiers Three", which sounds like a traditional Folky drinking song for listening to whilst downing a pint and scoffing a ploughman's lunch down at the local tavern before we go merrily on our way. Just don't let the ploughman catch you eating his lunch. The next song "Murdoch" is nothing to do with the media mogul and newspaper tycoon. No, this song is all about Murdoch's Mountain (wherever that is), which sounds remarkably similar to the Fairport Convention classic, "Tam Lin", particularly in the descending chord sequence. Lead vocalist Celia Humphris sings in a higher register than Sandy Denny of Fairport though, sounding more like Jacquie McShee of Pentangle on this charming Folk album. Maybe this sound-alike song is part of the reason why some Fotheringport Confusion was caused amongst the jaded British music press, who unfairly labelled Trees as a poor man's Fairport Convention. "On the Shore" is so far turning out to be a jolly good Folk album in its own right. We're heading across the Irish Sea to the Emerald Isle next for "Streets of Derry". It's a traditional Folk song with a slow marching rhythm, but don't let that put you off, because there are some scintillating acid- tinged psychedelic guitar vibes in the instrumental bridge section in this seven-minute Psych-Folk excursion to the streets of Derry (also known as Londonderry). The next song "Sally Free and Easy" is a 10-minute-long cover of the classic Pentangle song and it's a real highlight of the album. The hauntingly-beautiful vocals of Celia Humphris are enough to send a shiver up the spine and bring you out in goosebumps in this ghostly spine-tingling refrain.

The opening to Side Two is all about a "Fool" by the name of Oswald the Smith, whoever he might be. It's a 5-minute-long Psych-Folk acid trip. bathed in glowing psychedelic guitar colours, where Celia's normally high-pitched vocals drop a whole octave. This is where Trees get to display their very unconventional psychedelic Folk feathers and prove they're not just another carbon copy of Fairport Convention. It'd be no fool's errand to go out and buy this album. There's a brief acoustic guitar interlude now for "Adam's Tune" which leads us nicely into "Geordie", a traditional Folk song given the very untraditional Trees treatment of jangling psychedelic guitars combined with Celia's magnificently soaring vocals. There's no happy ending for the "Geordie" of the title though, because it's a dark and sinister tale of a man being hung for a crime he didn't commit, so it's too late to launch an appeal for clemency. It's time to strike "While the Iron is Hot" for our next Trees song, which opens deceptively as a traditional Folky number, but branches out into some wild Psychedelic Rock excursions. It's all Stetsons and cowboy boots next, because it's time now for a traditional country and western sing-along with "Little Sadie", a song which conjures up an image of a lively square-dance at a country hoe-down, so take your partner by the hand, and dance to the music of the band. Yee-hah! There's a return to some more traditional Folk music for our final song: "Polly on the Shore". This is one of the more conventional Folk songs on the album which most resembles the music of Fairport Convention, although being compared with the best English Folk-Rock band of all time can never be a bad thing.

Trees have branched out and explored the colourful psychedelic realms of Acid Folk with this unconventional second album. They're often compared to Fairport Convention, which is no bad thing, but Trees have carved their own particular niche in the vast forest of Folk bands, so you may wish to dip your toes into the rippling musical waves to be heard "On the Shore" before the tide comes in. You won't be disappointed. There's a whole wood-shed full of great songs to be heard on this album.

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |


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