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Tudor Lodge - Tudor Lodge CD (album) cover

TUDOR LODGE

Tudor Lodge

Prog Folk


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Yet another folk-rock group from the early 70'ss which made a superb album, actually released on the famous Vertigo â??swirlâ? label with a stunning fold-out artwork, which under its original and mint state will fetch almost a four figure price. Actually I can only tell you that unless you plan to frame the artwork and hang it on your wall, this price is really overdone, especially now that this has been released under three (four with the vinyl re-issues) different forms: a Repertoire release in the early 90â??s, a rather expensive Japanese mini-Lp release (but the fabrication is outstanding) and again another Repertoire release but this time in a mini-Lp format (not as outstanding but at half the price of the Japan version). If I must give you an advice (should you choose to investigate this beautiful and pastoral folk rock), I would encourage you to take the third choice.

However, enjoyable this group might be, it is of a limited interest for the proghead looking for intricate music. Despite its historic Tudor-allusion in its name, one cannot say that the music is much different than Fairport Convention or Amazing Blondel, do not look at ancient music influences here, although here and there, there are hints of it. Often compared (and sometimes mixed-up with) to Trader Horne, the music does bear resemblance also to Fotheringay,

Full of hippy ideals, this singing guitar trio (Ann Steuart also plays piano and flute) gets some help from other horn musicians and a string section and most of all, the participation of giant double-bass master Danny Thompson (of Pentangle, John Martyn and Tim Buckley fame) even if he stays more discreet (not mixed loud enough) on this album than in others. The music stays completely acoustic (except for the odd electric guitar on one superb track - The Lady Is Changing Home), and sometimes also instrumental (Madeline) displaying a certain kind of virtuosity that every proghead will love.

If you have enjoyed the afore-mentioned groups in this review, no doubt you will appreciate this record and therefore only the tough choice I presented you with in the first paragraph, but even then I help you out, you lucky SOB ;-) Run for it!!!!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#73751)
Posted Saturday, April 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I found a Repertoire's re-issue vinyl of this album when I searched for psych folk albums with lady singers at my youth. I was mostly stunned by the promises of beautiful psychedelic drawings of the album sleeve, and these expectations were quite well met on both musical and aesthetic levels too, though some maturing was needed from my own part.

The medieval elements are mostly focused to instrumental classic guitar song "Madeline", and to the chamber music sequences of wonderful "Willow Tree", which has also fine psychedelic load in the freely weaving starting part. There are also some anti-war 60's folk songs resembling Peter, Paul & Mary like "I See A Man", and more casual folk charmers like "Two Steps Back". A small chamber orchestra is participating on majority of the tracks, and this brings lots of more to listen, but also deepen some slightly banal "Disney emphasizing" of the music. Well, Ann Steuart's voice is very lovely, and his hippie boyfriends do decent support with harmonies and guitars. "Lady's Changing Home" is the solitary folk rock number here with amplified instruments, and "Forest" is also a song worth to mention, painting a light and relaxing scenario of lovely day among the glades.

This album has been produced quite well, so there are no amateurish playing nor arrangements found here, and the sound quality of the recording is excellent. Though there were some characteristics in few compositions which first felt bit unpleasant to me, maybe it is fun to learn adopt all sweet and positive things as favorable experiences. However there are many beautiful scenarios on this album, and I can't emphasize too much to get it as a vinyl with wonderful opening gatefold artwork.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#81047)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Once again Esoteric continue to mine the seams of those long lost treasures of yesteryear, presenting forgotten gems at affordable prices. Original LP copies of this 1971 album were known to fetch silly amounts of money; a combination of the sought after Vertigo `spiral' label, and the genuinely excellent contents within.

Ostensibly an acoustic folk trio, they are augmented by the Pentangle rhythm section of Danny Thompson and Terry Cox among many other contributors, which gives a huge clue as to the level of musical accomplishment on show here. There are inevitable comparisons with Pentangle, but the trio of Lyndon Green, Ann Steuart and John Stannard are individual enough to make this a wonderful and beautifully recorded album full of truly memorable self-penned tunes and infused with that uniquely English rustic sound.

Vocal duties are equally shared but Ann Steuart in particular, has a crystal clear voice which is well up there with her peers, and on the opening track `It All Comes Back To Me' it shines out amongst chiming acoustic guitars, double bass and flute. `Two Steps Back' is also a particularly fine example of a beautifully arranged timeless melody which delights the ears and recalls sweeter, simpler times. The album maintains a consistency, the guitar arrangements are beautiful and the trio is augmented by some 12 guest musicians adding their brush strokes along the way. This was seemingly an album made with much care and attention, although we are told the studio time only totalled two weeks...

It is somewhat of a mystery that this album did not find a wider audience in it's own lifetime. A wonderful discovery which sounds fresh and assured and easily worth five stars.

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Send comments to beebfader (BETA) | Report this review (#512267)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There is something very special about the british folk-boom of the 60's and 70's. Sure, the boom was not all british but came to be in parts all over the world. But for me it's the british folk-scene that is most intriguing and brings me to think of green pastures, meadows, the past, love and death, hardship and amazing musicianship. I am a great fan of Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span (to name but a few, though well known bands). But there are also great albums from other constellations, lesser knownor with a lifespan considerably shorter, like Tudor Lodge.

I've been slightly hesitant towards Tudor Lodge. From what I had heard it really wasn't quite what I was looking for in british folk, being slightly too american for my taste. At least that was my conception. Now, in possession of the Repertoire papersleeve reissue, I find myself nodding in recognition of my fears but also acknowledging the fact that it was not so american as I'd thought.

Surely there are american nods on here but not in a totally unattractive way, as on the Baby Whale album. The sounds of the british isles blend very well with the ever so slightly spiced americana, creating a very cohesive sound and record. I wish there would have been more of the traditionally sounding british prog folk but then again, it actually sounds great.

The music on Tudor Lodge is very mellow, harmony drenched and dreamy. It sounds extremely professional and thought through. Considering the mere two weeks it took to record it I find myself baffled and in awe. I suppose the group must have been very tight, having played and rehearsed alot before entering the studio.

The instrumentation on the album is amazing. All kinds of acoustic playing can be heard, only once or twice becoming electrified. I am amazed, really. What I had thought before seem now like totally untrue. The truth is that Tudor Lodge is a great album, full of the folk I adore. This is classic and really comparable to other stars of the same era, though sounding in a really personal fashion, not copying any of it's peers in Pentangle, Fairport or whoever.

In short: Tudor Lodge delivers an album of amazing, delicate, gentle folk in a completely individual fashion. It's a shame (or is it a blessing?) they did not make another album at the time. On the other hand the impact seem so much greater now, the legacy more intriguing and mysterious. Although the album may be a footnote in the history of music it remains a vibrant footnote. If you're into this kind of stuff I really recommend you get hold of a copy. Like, now? Yes. Right now.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#916527)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although generally considered to be part of the progressive folk scene (and indeed it was originally released on the famed Vertigo label), the emphasis is very much on the folk side of the equation here, and fans of Fairport Convention and other pioneers of British folk rock would probably have just as much chance to enjoy this one as pursuers of folk-prog. The warm, evocative production in particular makes the album a pleasant and approachable listen, and the very occasional inclusion of more psychedelic or electric elements stops things getting samey; on top of that, the band manage to deal with the inclusion of a chamber orchestra on most of the tracks without allowing the orchestra to overpower them or make things too schmaltzy.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#932125)
Posted Monday, March 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars To imagine being in a forest, hear the wind rustling through the trees and the sweet sound of the rushing water of a stream

The best quality of this fine album is its simplicity. There are no long and complex songs and arrangements are extremely simple. The songs are pleasant, some even excellent and free of acid-psychedelic experiments typical of other groups of folk-prog (Comus, Strawbs, Jan Dukes De Grey, Family).

The band's style recalls groups like Pentangle and Fairport Convention: it is a melodic and refined folk-rock. The music is characterized by the obvious predominance of acoustic guitars, but also for the important presence of the strings and winds (flute and horns in particular).

There are wonderful songs that on first listen I had not been impressed, but I enjoyed with time, such as It All Comes Back To Me (characterized by a wonderful introduction with strings and oboe) the contemplative Nobody's Listening and the funny Would You Believe?.

In Two Steps Back the voice of Ann Steuart is reminiscent of Annie Haslam, in fact this beautiful song could easily be a piece of Renaissance. Another highlight is Willow Tree the song closest to the canons of prog rock (in particular Strawbs comes to mind) because of the strange introduction, perhaps the only time of experimentation present throughout the album.

The last three songs are probably the least successful. The Lady's Changing Home is perhaps a timid attempt to make a commercial hit; it has the only electric guitar solo of the record, and a more determined work on drums. Madeline is an instrumental acoustic song with some exotic appeal. Kew Gardens is a cover of the song by Ralph Mc Tell with interesting vocal harmonies but little else.

Of course if you love the virtuosity of jazz-rock, the solemn tones and bombastic keyboards arrangements typical of symphonic progressive, you'll probably enjoy this album only in part. But if you love the folk music of artists such as Magna Carta, Anthony Phillips or Strawbs, this album certainly will keep you good company.

Finally, my intentionally stupid (and provocative) little game of "the best song of the album". It is very easy for me to identify here the less successful songs, but in this case it is very difficult to choose my favorite track since there are four or five songs all at the same level. Given that can be only one winner, I will choose at random!

Keep on proggin'.

Final rating: 7/10.

Best song: It All Comes Back To Me

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Send comments to Dark Nazgul (BETA) | Report this review (#967649)
Posted Friday, May 31, 2013 | Review Permalink

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