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Tudor Lodge - Tudor Lodge CD (album) cover

TUDOR LODGE

Tudor Lodge

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 55 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
4 stars TUDOR LODGE were a charming Prog Folk trio from Reading in southern England, who are often compared with (and sometimes confused with) Trader Horne. The trio of merry minstrels are best-known for their eponymously-titled "Tudor Lodge" album in 1970, but the band have been touring and recording on and off for well over forty years now. It seemed like their self-titled album from 1970 might be the last we'd ever hear of Tudor Lodge, but they made a surprising comeback over a quarter of a century later with five further albums:- "Let's Talk" (1997); "It All Comes Back" (1998); "Dream" (1999); "Runaway" (2003); & "Unconditional" (2006).

We begin with a lovely nostalgic trip back in time for "It All Comes Back To Me", a saccharine-sweet Folk song that's very reminiscent of early Fairport Convention with Judy Dyble. This beautiful trip down memory lane will bring back fond memories of that bygone age when there were a whole plethora of delightfully endearing Folk albums just like the album we have here. "It All Comes Back To Me" is a haunting refrain with a semi-classical opening and featuring heavenly angelic vocals from Ann Steuart (not a misspelling) with the two male vocalists providing some delicious harmonisation. This is a truly gorgeous opening to the album, in the true spirit of Fairport and Pentangle, and of course, Trader Horne too, who released their "Morning Way" album around the same time as this album. "Would You Believe" this album can possibly get any better!?? Yes, indeed it can, because "Would You Believe" is a lovely melody with all three travelling troubadours playing jangling acoustic guitars in perfect symmetry together and featuring some exquisite three-part harmonies too. This song and album as a whole also features cellos, violins and woodwind instruments in abundance too, which all adds to the gentle pastoral charm of the music. "Would You Believe" sounds like a very pleasant hybrid cross between Magna Carta, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Association, with those oh-so-beautiful three-part harmonies very much at the forefront. Tudor Lodge is proving to be a very desirable property to own so far. "Recollection" continues the pleasant nostalgia trip with a tune that sounds like it could have come straight from The Seekers songbook. The bright and uplifting vocal harmonies are as clear as a bell and that's something that really shines through on this outstanding Folk album. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say this album sounds as good as, if not better than anything Fairport Convention have ever done, so it's a pity Tudor Lodge haven't managed to gain the wider recognition they deserve. They were one of the many touring bands on the early-1970's English Folk circuit who never quite managed to make the big breakthrough to the big time in the same way as Pentangle, Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention obviously did. Our fourth song "Two Steps Back" features Ann Steuart taking the vocal lead this time around, and sounding like a beguiling cross between Joan Baez and Judy Collins. This very appealing song sounds like it could have had the potential to become a real Folk classic if only it had received any radio airplay at the time of its release, but sadly, it wasn't to be. This memorable song has a very catchy hook-line that's very much in the style of "Diamonds and Dust" by Joan Baez. It's one of those evergreen timeless classics that sounds strangely familiar, even though you may be hearing it for the very first time. It's also a gorgeous slice of nostalgia - just like the album as a whole - that you can keep coming back to time and time again and never tire of listening to. Our musical journey continues with "Help Me Find Myself", a lovely Folk song that's positively bursting with sunshine, conjuring up a rustic image of strolling through fields of buttercups, daisies and dandelions on a beautiful summer's day. This is the kind of song (and album) that could ONLY have come from the much- missed late-1960's/early 1970's Folk era, the like of which we'll sadly never see or hear again, but we can still treasure the memories forever every time we put this gem of an album on the record player. Side One concludes now with "Nobody's Listening", another charming Folk song in what is turning out to be a very fine album indeed. Every ardent fan of the early 1970's English Folk scene will almost certainly enjoy listening to "Nobody's Listening".

Moving swiftly through the remaining half a dozen songs now to avoid a hopelessly long review (although it may be too late for that already), we arrive underneath the "Willow Tree", which represents quite a departure from the jolly Folk tunes on Side One. "Willow Tree" takes us into the spookier dimensions of slightly disturbing Psych-Folk - although nowhere near as sinister as the spectral music of Comus. The opening of "Willow Tree" is eerily discordant, which only adds to the creepy and mysterious atmosphere. This just serves as a prelude though for a hauntingly-beautiful melodic soundscape of swirling pastoral Folk. "Willow Tree" is a real album highlight! We're not out of the woods yet as the next song is titled "Forest", which is a typical pastoral Folk song about taking a country ramble through an autumnal leaf-strewn forest, filled with chirruping squirrels and squawking blackbirds. It's generally a celebration of the wonders of Mother Nature in all of her infinite loveliness, so this song will no doubt have special appeal to hippyish environmentalists and Green Party activists. It's also a jolly nice tune too. The next song "I See a Man" is a sad melancholic refrain about the futility of war, as these thoughtful soul- searching lyrics reveal:- " I see a young man in early days of war, Who wants nothing more than to do the best he can, And so he volunteers to join the grenadiers, And fight the battle for his fellow man. I see a man who is welcomed home a hero, The crowds cheer as he holds his head up high, For now the war is past and now he's home at last, The crowd don't notice the tears in his eyes. I see a proud man who fought for his country, He did everythng a soldier could do, But now he's getting old and many times his story's told, The crowd don't even know his name any more." ..... It's always the sad songs that reach most deeply into the depths of the soul. Anyway, cheer up, because "The Lady's Changing Home" is on the way, which is an altogether jollier tune with a bright and catchy melody. It's the longest song - at four and a half minutes long - and also the most commercially appealing song on the album, featuring the sound of a funky electric guitar for the first time on the album. "The Lady's Changing Home" is a good all-round Beatle-esque Pop song with a rousing anthemic chorus, which marks a very pleasant and unexpected departure from the Folky tunes on the rest of the album. It's another album highlight in an album that somehow manages to get better and better as it goes along. You certainly won't find any mediocre album fillers here! We're off to meet the fair maiden "Madeline" now, and very pretty she is too. It's a gentle acoustic guitar instrumental, which serves as a pleasant horticultural introduction to the ephemeral 2-minute-long "Kew Gardens" (a Ralph McTell song). It's the 12th and final song on the album with those gorgeous three-part harmonies very much in evidence again. "Kew Gardens" is just as lovely as the song title implies, bringing the album to a delightful and memorable conclusion.

Tudor Lodge stands out like a magnificent Mansion on the Hill! There's a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity to acquire the very desirable oak-beamed Tudor Lodge at a very affordable price. The property has a delightful Olde Worlde artful decor and is situated in a lovely rural idyll. The purchase of the strikingly impressive Tudor Lodge will take you on a nostalgic trip back in time to a wonderful never-to-be-repeated bygone age of peaceful pastoral Folk, with twelve beautifully furnished rooms/songs to explore. This charming Folk album from yesteryear sounds as warm and comforting as lying on a soft woolly rug in front of a nice blazing log fire with a cup of hot cocoa in the middle of winter. Baby, it may be cold outside, but it'll give you a lovely warm feeling listening to the music inside the "Tudor Lodge"!

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |

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