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Dr. Strangely Strange

Prog Folk

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Dr. Strangely Strange Heavy Petting album cover
2.77 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ballad of the Wasps (3:22)
2. Summer Breeze (3:35)
3. Kilmanoyadd Stomp (2:41)
4. I Will Lift up my Eyes (1:50)
5. Sign on my Mind (8:19)
6. Gave my Love an Apple (6:05)
7. Jove Was at Home (2:30)
8. When Adam Delved (2:10)
9. Ashling (4:40)
10. Mary Malone of Moscow (3:52)
11. Goodnight my Friends (1:12)

Total time: 39:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Mattacks / drums, percussion
- Johnny Moynihan / bazouki
- Jay Myrdal / glockenspiel
- Ivan Pawle / organ, bass, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, tin whistle, human whistle, voices, vocals, keyboards, harmonium, piano
- Heather Wood / vocals
- Brendan Shields / bass guitar
- Tim Booth / banjo, vocals, voices, guitar, keyboards, harmonium, rhythm guitar, bass
- Jim Goulding / organ, fiddle, one-string fiddle, bass recorder, soprano recorder, voices, vocals, recorder, harmonium, piano
- Johnny Mounthay / bazouki
- Annie Xmas / harmonium, vocals
- Brush Shiels / bass
- Johanna / harmonium, vocals, keyboards, cover photo
- Jim Booth / banjo, bass, harmonium, voices, rhythm, vocals, guitar
- Annie Christmas / keyboards, vocals
- Tim Goulding / organ, bass recorder, voices, vocals, recorder, keyboards, fiddle, piano, violin, one-string fiddle, harmonium
- Linus / percussion, autoharp, whistle, finger cymbals, voices, vocals
- Gary Moore / guitar
- Andy Irvine / mandolin

Releases information

LP Vertigo 6360-009 (1970) UK
LP Frizzbee5 (1985) DK
CD Air Mail AIRAC-1048 (2003) JPN
CD Repertoire 4273-WP (2005) EU

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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DR. STRANGELY STRANGE Heavy Petting ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DR. STRANGELY STRANGE Heavy Petting reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Among the usual gems unearthed from the 70's, DSS happens to come up and get cited quite often, but I find its status greatly exaggerated due to the Vertigo Swirl label appearance and the ultra bizarre gimmick Roger Dean artwork of their first album, Heavy Petting. This being their second album, and given the hopes that their debut KOTS had us wishing for, HP is certainly a bit of a deception. Keeping the original quintet intact, the group added as guest or members a bunch of musicians; the best-known being FC's Mattacks and his very sterile drumming style, an ultra-young Gary Moore on guitar and two Sweeney's men members. The end result is rendering the general musical direction completely directionless, which is rather strange because now-legend producer Joe Boyd wasn't missing many records that were to become masterpieces.

Most fans of this album will describe the music as bonkers, mad, bizarre and inventive, but I will use directionless, lacking fire and drive, amateurish and involuntarily cacophonous and certainly not mad in the Comus or JDDG style. In terms of folk, they would approach the more "Barochial" song-based Amazing Blondel and be a less-impressive ISB, but lacking the latter's zaniness or maybe trying too hard to match it.

It's not to say that things are completely offbeat, but the few things progheads like good interplay, virtuosity and complex rhythms or arrangements are just not really met to our fills/needs. What I mean is that the prog junkie will not get his kicks from this fix. Clearly the better tracks on the album are the longer ones and the 8-mins Sign On My Mind (closing side 1) is the album's cornerstone, but the flipside's opener, the 6-mins Gave My Love An Apple as it develops into a boogie after a rocky roll-out- barrels barroom song. But it's definitely too little & too few for real proghead interest. As for the folk side of things, it is average with a very pleasant flute, mandolin/bouzouki and harmonium/organ, but it never drives you out of your mind.

In some ways, one thinks that DSS actually could've come close to an essential piece of folk, had they not messed up on patchy moments and disputable chaotic ideas; they had it half right, but completely missed out on the second half. Half ISB, half AB, DSS made two half-fine albums since this was already the case with their previous effort..

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars I’ve tried for a while now to get into this album, but frankly it’s nothing to get very excited about, even for a hardcore fan of hippie-era acid folk. For the most part the band lives up to their reputation of sounding an awful lot like the more staid Incredible String Band albums, although there are a spare few redeeming qualities scattered about here and there.

Dr. Strangely Strange formed a bit of a following in the very early seventies from what I understand, although I never heard of them until just a couple years ago when their late reformed lineup released the 2007 CD ‘Halcyon Days’. Turns out I didn’t miss much, and neither will you if you never bother to pick this thing up. Most of the arrangements here are not particularly well thought-out, and the sporadic spoken-word bits serve only to make the music sound even more dated than it would have anyway. This is especially true of the directionless opening track “Ballad of the Wasps” as well as “I Will Lift up Mine Eyes” with its off-key singing and just as sour organ notes.

The one bright spot is the lengthy “Sign on my Mind”, an almost Dylanesque meandering folk tune embellished with plenty of acoustic instruments (mandolin, guitar, fiddle) as well as thick with the band’s penchant for all manner of whistles, recorders and flutes. This is an easygoing and breezy springtime tune with a light air to it that makes for a pleasant enough listen, but it’s hardly enough to save the entire album. “Gave my Love an Apple” starts off with a bit of promise as well, but quickly morphs into a jaunty and somewhat silly jam session with rather nonsensical lyrics and no sense of purpose whatsoever. Truth be told by this point in the album I’m a little bored and setting through the rest of it becomes a tad chore whenever I manage to play the whole thing. The abrupt ending comes none too soon as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mean to bash this record really, but it wasn’t worth what I paid for it and in the end I’d rather be honest than accommodating.

With the exception of the blues-guitar infused “Mary Malone of Moscow”, the back half of the album is quite tepid and lackluster, with no standout tracks at all. That one song could be considered a very early example of what bands like T. Rex would develop into the glam rock sound that emerged from acid folk a few short years later, but I think this is more by accident than any sort of artistic epiphany.

In all this is hardly better than a collector’s curio, an album whose cover has stood the test of time far better than the music it encases. I can’t say I’d recommend this record to anyone in particular, although if you are someone like me who likes to immerse yourself in prog folk music of all kinds, it might be worth a taste just for the experience. Two stars are about all I can muster though, so there’s no ringing endorsement forthcoming.


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