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Madden And Harris

Prog Folk

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Madden And Harris Fools Paradise album cover
3.63 | 24 ratings | 6 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1- Wishes (4:23)
2- Fools Paradise Part 2 (3:20)
3- The Wind At Eve (4:00)
4- Margaret O'Grady (3:12)
5- I Heard A Man Say (1:59)
6- O'Weary Brain (3:20)
7- Cool September (1:34)
8- Fool's Paradise: a) A Children Of Ice (2:15)
9- Fool's Paradise b) Will You Be There (7:38)
10- Fool's Paradise c) E.I.E.I.O (3:18)
11- Fool's Paradise d) End Game (6:58)
12- Remember Me (2:55)
13- A Simple Song (3:16)

Line-up / Musicians

Dave Madden / guitar, vocals
Peter Harris / sax, synthesizer, violin, harp, guitar, mandolin, vocals
Paul Baker / bass
Doug Gallagher / drums

Releases information

Lp: Jasmine Records
Cd: M2U records

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
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MADDEN AND HARRIS Fools Paradise ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

MADDEN AND HARRIS Fools Paradise reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Hard to believe that such progressive folk beauties keep appearing in the new millennium, as if crawling out of the woodwork after a long hibernation. This Sydney duo of folkies (a rather unusual combination of teacher and pupil) only released one superb album on their own private label, Jasmine Records, before sinking from the radars' spectrum and into oblivion. This album is a pure gem in its presentation as in its musical content: an often medieval-sounding progressive folk with delicate arrangements, graced by an opulent gatefold with a rich outer artwork an a stunning inner painting of the album's name, courtesy of artist Jane Lerossignol, and dedicated to the sidelong suite gracing the vinyl's flipside. Teacher Peter Harris sings and plays most of the instruments (from keyboards to winds, harp and guitars) except for the guitars, bass and drums, while student Dave Madden handles the guitars and sings and the duo is often joined by a very apt bass and drums section, giving it a true rock spirit.

The opening Wishes is a haunting piece of dramatic-sounding folk in the Bert Jansch mode with cello, harp and guitar accompaniment, with the cello drones sending chills through your back as the track unfolds and a mellotron soloes away, with the two partners trading vocal lines, the track almost dying in a Harmonium fashion before picking up again in a stunning, jaw-dropping beauty and finally ending. Following is a short condensed recall of the sidelong title track, but it might be a bit short to call this a preview or an epilogue, as musically or sonically, it doesn't offer the same thrills, but nevertheless. FP pt2 has much to offer, but ends in a frustrating fade-out. The Wind At Eve is a superb ambient folk piece, again flooded in mellotron washes, with both singers trading melancholic lines. You'd believe yourself on the Winter track of Harmonium's fifth season album. At times, the prog folk duo of Subway (releasing their only album in 72 in Paris) is also somewhat similar to this duo of troubadours.

However, the rather out-of-place Margaret O'Grady is sticking out like a sore thumb with its barroom piano roll-out-the-barrel folk tune. Not atrocious a song in itself, but almost atrociously out of place, but apparently this is the track that was thought of as a promotion for the album. In the same upper mood spirit is the O'Weary Brain track, which takes a small but refreshing musical delire (almost Stackridge- like), and while it ends in a slow church-organ growl, it gives an intro for the closing Cool September, which keeps the organ flowing openly throughout the track. The more conventional I Heard A Man Say is more in the Fairport Convention mould with a soft flute wraps up the opening side of this album.

The stunning four-movement centre/masterpiece title track filling the flipside of the vinyl is obviously the "pièce de résistance" of Fools Paradise. The first movement (A Children Of Ice) starts on a children choir over guitar arpeggios, providing some charming but naïve ambiance, before some brutal drums shake you from your torpor (providing an ideal change of movement as Will You Be There is launched without much warning), while the choir keeps along, now accompanied by one of our troubadours. A piano, a bass, than an electric guitar successively join up, the later for a soaring fuzzed-up solo, the choir having by now disappeared, replaced by Harris' organ than a second passage of the song sequence. Some dissonant guitar arpeggios open-up "E.I.E.I.O" (don't ask ;-), which is a short and quirky but troubled song. The sinister lengthy ending of this track is the aptly titled End Game, first with huge bass line (thinking of Caravan's C'Thlu Thlu bass line) accompanied by string mellotron twirls, abruptly ended by a baritone sax and acoustic guitar strumming and gentle vocals from both M&H, but soon the ambiance becomes more menacing

Clocking at 20:16, the title track is simply Australia's best song, ranking up there with Rainbow Theatre, millions of miles ahead of the botched up Seb Hardie or Windchase. The non-album single bonus tracks are of the same calibre of FP's first side and therefore add even more value to the CD re-issue. The A- side remember me is a gentle but superb mellotron-drenched prog folk song, while its flipside is slightly rockier, but merllotron-laden as well.

One of the more spectacular aural albums discovered by yours truly, M&H's sole album Fools Paradise is one of those 24-carat unearthed gems, that needs no refining. If I have spoken of Bert Jansch, Harmonium, Caravan, Subway, Fairport, Stackridge, I could also cite Comus or Spirogyra (without the wickedness and the acid vocals), and you might just get an idea how superb this album really is. RUN FOR IT, before it's OOP!!!!

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I'll keep this one brief ... for me anyways.

First the great and good. The bookends - Wishes, and A Simple Song, are among the best prog folk I've heard. David Cousins would have killed to have songs this good on Grave new World or Bursting at the Seams. As George Burns used to tell up & coming comedians - Open with a bang, close with a bang, and most people won't mind whatever is in the middle.

Now the so-so ... Fool's Paradise, Margaret O'Grady, And Fools Paradise (suite) sound like outtakes from the Zombies Odyssey & Oracle. Good enough, but no better than an out-take.

The remainder sound like what I imagine would be leftovers from 1967-69 Donovan sessions. A tad psychedelic, a bit pop, a bit playful. Nothing I would reach for my wallet to buy.

So .... some understandably may see a porg folk masterpiece. Others, including a relative neophyte like myself, this is but passable, and would leave only a few things for a compilation ...

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars This Aussie teacher-pupil pairing started playing in the early 1970s and released a single some time before their sole album "Fools Paradise" in 1975. Unfortunately, the re-release to which I am privy does not include the original single as bonus tracks, but, apart from nods to the Canterbury scene and parallels to the Basque movement, this sounds like it emanates from the earlier phase. It's mostly an appealing if undistinguished mixture of British Isles folk with the prog of its day, with an array of primarily acoustic instruments, requisite vocal harmonies, and Gothic atmospheres. Bands like MAGNA CARTA, TIR NA NOG, and FAIRPORT CONVENTION come to mind, but, in the more progressive moments I recall CARAVAN or PINK FLOYD. The album peters out after several solid psych pieces in the early going though, and even the partially achieved ambitions of the title suite don't fully resurrect it, heartening lead guitar and bass lines notwithstanding. For all its legendary status,"Fools Paradise" is little more than another decent garden variety prog folk album of its era

Latest members reviews

4 stars I'd never heard of these guys before I saw them listed here - and days later, stumbled across their album at Vicious Sloth Collectables (for $1000! - I went away to think about it, then found a secondhand CD copy on the web for $40, funnily enough on Vicious Sloth's imprint). It's almost impossible ... (read more)

Report this review (#722278) | Posted by sl75 | Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There is not much more that I can say about this album that the previous two didn't. This is simply the best prog folk album out there. It's full of every emotion a human can produce, from happy and humorous to dark and sorrowful. There is a lot of mystery as to what happened to Dave Madden an ... (read more)

Report this review (#197142) | Posted by AmericanProgster | Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Progarchives has showed me some of my favorites albums. In this case, this album is up my personal top 20. Madden & Harris was a teacher-student Australian duo that released one only album. Featuring a pure folk rock style, and it seems that these guys left all their creativity for one big shot ... (read more)

Report this review (#183543) | Posted by AlexUC | Thursday, September 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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