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Sunforest - Sound of Sunforest CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.13 | 19 ratings

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4 stars A wonderful slice of Anglo-American history, anno 1969.

I find this album to be an under-appreciated gem. It has very well recorded psychedelic folk performances of original material that I find far superior to a lot of the "classic" Hippie Folk or Prog Folk that I've become familiar with from the 1960s. The anachronistic instrumental opener being followed by the wonderfully ambiguous (is it happy or is it sad?) MAMAS AND PAPAS-like "Where Are You?" set the stage perfectly. The more famous "hit", "Magician in the Mountain", has a CSN&Y feel to it until the complex horns enter, giving it more of a R&B feel. The vocal harmonies may, at times, lack enthusiasm, yet they have the smoothness of Mama Cass & Company or The Cowsills. The bass play is exceptional. The cute little folk ditty, "Bonny River" sounds as if it could have come from Sonny & Cher or The New Christie Minstrels. "Garden Rug" continues the foray into more ancient musical traditions, though this time from the female perspective. Feminism in its fullest! The cinematic folk arrangement of "Lovely Day" reminds me of something from a romantic Lerner and Lowe musical (like "Brigadoon".) Great song. The amazing "All in Good Time" is dripping in sarcasm with its sound imitation of church music and attitudes. Brilliant!

Yes there are a preponderance of quirky, made-for-popular effect songs on the album (still using odd and often anachronistic instruments and arrangements). They all serve to dish out what I find to be a refreshing collection of vignettes into the espritzeitgeist of the times (1969) and are, thus, wonderfully entertaining. What's the difference between this kind of story-telling and the mythical renderings of Genesis or traditional folk music? "Lighthouse Keeper" is innocuously cute, and "Mr. Bumble" sounds surprisingly as if it could have been made in the 2010s by the NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA. The harpsichord based "Give Me All Your Loving" sounds tongue-in-cheek comic like a ROCHES song, but is brilliantly rendered. "Lady Next Door" sounds like it was a reaction to an episode of Brit radio classic, The Archers--the time that a hippy lady appeared in Ambridge. (Crikey!) Ditto, for "Peppermint Store"--though this one might be as likely to express a scene from Americana's Mayberry RFD--and "Old. Cluck". (I have to remind myself that this band was founded by a trio of Americans who moved to London to find their artistic careers. Perhaps theater and television should have been their medium.)

Much of the music and arrangements have a traditional folk, even antiquated feel to them, though there are many additional "modern" (for the time) ideas being added/implemented to each and every song--and each done so with individualistic attention, not just blanket engineering. It feels like a lot of work, a lot of creative energy went into the crafting of these songs--that a lot of discussion and experimentation occurred with and for each and every song. Thus, I find myself dumbfounded that this album gets passed over and downgraded. Far superior than anything I've ever heard by the Incredible String Band, (but, then, I'm not a lyrics guy, so that might explain my lack of appreciation for the [any?] progginess of anything done by that band.

I seriously can't see giving this window into our past anything less than four stars! It is such a fascinating glimpse into the changing times of 1969!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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