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Dulcimer - And I Turned As I Had Turned As a Boy CD (album) cover

AND I TURNED AS I HAD TURNED AS A BOY

Dulcimer

 

Prog Folk

3.47 | 21 ratings

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Lizzy
4 stars Nothing changed but the time...

It is no front-page news that the generic effervescent atmosphere of folk music did not always manage to entice a considerable number of prog listeners for whom music seems to have been a mechanism ordained to nourish the intellect. A break from complex arrangements and concept lyrics is sometimes called upon simply to have one's left hemisphere rest for a change. Enter thus Dulcimer, a trio of talented English multi-instrumentalists discovered apparently whilst playing in a restaurant by actor Richard Todd, with their 1971 debut album, And I Turned as I Had Turned as a Boy.

Although 1971 is synonymous with the dark acid folk masterpieces, First Utterance and St. Radigunds, Dulcimer comes as a counterbalance with soft optimistic folk accords. As the band's name suggests, a core role in the music making is held by the usage of the homonymous string instrument, whose acoustic embellishments, along with those of mandolins and six and twelve-string acoustic guitars, give the album an almost baroque English countryside flavour. The narrated fragments provided by Richard Todd himself on Sonnet to the Fall or Caravan, as well as the delicately layered vocals and harmonies are very much in the spirit of Magna Carta. In fact, the seasonal theme on Sonnet to the Fall, makes this piece almost an epilogue to Seasons. In the same vein, Caravan comes across as the album's mini epic about the colourful and vibrant gypsy and Indian convoys in England, with a splendid instrumental mid-section that sees harmonica accompanied by glockenspiel with the playful and upbeat junction of mandolin and acoustic guitars in the foreground while the bass guitar pumps up the sound to make way for a glorious dulcimer finale. The overall light-hearted atmosphere is maintained via short and sweet tracks with catchy choruses such as Time in My Life or the string and harmonica lead, Suzanne. The famous coconut shell horse-trotting effect one can encounter on Morman's Casket, a delightful piece about a Norman's adventure journey on horseback which sees him encounter a dragon and trying to protect his precious casket filled with jewels. The story's soundtrack is the now familiar combination of acoustic guitars with a very alert mandolin which is tempered down with the use of dulcimer. The instrument benefits from a special kind of attention, with Fruit of the Musical Tree being a veritable ode dedicated to the dulcimer, sustained by the surprising use of a tenor recorder.

Overall, despite paling in comparison, progressive wise, to the likes of its fellow folkers, Comus or Spirogyra, Dulcimer has the merit of coming forth with a first album that is plainly beautiful in its simplicity. 4 stars!

Lizzy | 4/5 |

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