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Trees On The Shore album cover
3.63 | 98 ratings | 21 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Soldiers Three (1:51) *
2. Murdoch (5:10)
3. Polly On The Shore (6:10) *
4. Adam's Toon (1:12)
5. Sally Free And Easy (10:12)
6. Fool (5:22)
7. Geordie (5:06) *
8. While The Iron Is Hot (3:21)
9. Little Sadie (3:11) *
10. Streets Of Derry (7:31) *

Total time: 49:09

Sony 2007 remaster follows a different running order:
Tracks 1-2-10-5-6-4-7-8-9-3

Bonus Disc from 2007 Sony remaster:
1. Soldiers Three (New Arrangement) (1:50) *
2. Murdoch (New Arrangement) (6:36)
3. Streets Of Derry (New Arrangement) (7:34) *
4. Fool (New Arrangement) (5:24)
5. Geordie (New Arrangement) (5:09)*
6. Little Sadie (New Arrangement) (2:40)
7. Polly On The Shore (New Arrangement) (6:09) *
8. Forest Fire (BBC Radio One 1971 Bob Harris Show) (4:06)
9. Little Black Cloud (1970 Demo) (2:14)

Total time 41:42

* Traditional songs

Line-up / Musicians

- Celia Humphris / lead vocals
- Barry Clarke / lead guitar, dulcimer
- David Costa / 12-string electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin
- Bias Boshell / bass, 12-string acoustic guitar, piano, keyboards & arrangements (2.1-2.9), vocals
- Unwin Brown / drums, percussion, tambourine, vocals

- Tony Cox / bass (5), arrangements (8), producer (excl. 2.8)
- Michael Jefferies / harp (8)
- "LRAM" / strings (8)
- Raf Costa / acoustic guitar intro (2.2)

Releases information

Artwork: Storm Thorgerson / Hipgnosis

LP CBS ‎- 64168 (1970, UK)
LP Decal - LIK 12 (1987, UK)

CD Beat Goes On - BGOCD 173 (1993, UK)
CD Columbia ‎- 484435 2 (1993, UK) Remastered
2xCD Sony BMG ‎- 88697316542 (2007, Europe) Remastered by Paschal Byrne (different running order) w/ bonus disc including 9 tracks previously unreleased (remixed & remastered by Adrian Hardy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TREES On The Shore ratings distribution

(98 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

TREES On The Shore reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars In 1970 TREES released their 2nd album with "On The Shore" blending strong elements of Prog, Psychedelia and Folk. Led by the strong and beautiful voice of Celia Humphris (sounds like a mix of Annie Haslam and Sandy Denny), "On The Shore" delivers a wild contrast of soft 70's classical Avante Garde folk rock. What is truely addictive here is their juxtaposed sounds, blending piano with guitar (acoustic and electric). The longer songs are simply "to die for" with the extended psychedelic jams and fuzzy electric guitar droned solos. For those who love a great album cover you will be delighted here with Storm Thorgeson's psychy camera work (best known for designing PINK FLOYD's "Dark Side Of The Moon"). Without a question "On The Shore" is a fabulous and highly eclectic piece of Psychy 70's Folk which definitely has my ear.
Review by Sean Trane
5 stars As good if not even better than their debut masterpiece. Read the other reviews , because as usual , James describes the music better than I could. It is notable that this band dared a bit more electrical music than most of their counterparts. However as they started pretty late into the folk-rock movement , they never managed to get the attention they deseved as the focal point was on bands well established . Comus and Spyrogyra also paid that price. I guess there was so many place at the top of the pyramid......

Also investigate the Pentangle.

Review by soundsweird
2 stars Sorry, folks; on the surface, this band sounds like a Fairport wannabe, and UNDER the surface they are a poor man's Fairport. Hovering between mediocre and pretty good musicianship (except for the drummer, who's just plain bad), with bland arrangements and a singer who sounds like Sandy Denny after one of her renowned benders, there's just no reason to bother with this album. The other one's still derivative, but a little better.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The traditional oriented "Soldiers Three" opens this extraordinary wonderful psychedelic folk album, and it's vocal arrangements for several voices and medieval like guitar interludes gives a strong first impression. "Murdoch" has a strong tempo driven by acoustic guitar, and an enchanting verse with overdubbed double vocals. "Polly on the shore" is one of the essential tracks here, a long psychedelic voyage with beautiful features. "Adams Toon" is a short medieval like guitar piece introducing "Sally Free & Easy", which creates a fine tension with piano driven opening, and powerful verse from the whole band. "Fool" is also a great song, this being more conventional folk rock with traditional oriented melodies and lyrics. "Geordie" resembles the early Fairport Convention minor ballads from its melody, which is truly beautiful, and the weeping electric guitar accompanies Celia's voice. The rest of the tracks are quite average as compositions, but still fine performances. The re-mastered sound on the CD is very clear, and there's an informative booklet within, so if you like psych oriented folk, I recommend checking this album out. The original vinyl version of this record should be quite hard to find and very expensive, luckily there are some reissues moving around of it too.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars A five piece Psyche / Folk band.This is a great album that i'm so glad I took a chance on. I really like the fact they have two lead guitarists, I really enjoyed listening to them both playing a different, yet complementary melody at the same time, just beautiful ! And another thing that is very appealing to me is that the guitar often sounds like Conny Veit's style and tone from POPOL VUH. There are both female and male vocals, although Celia does most of the singing, and she has a very nice tone to her vocals.

Dual vocals on the opening track "Soldies Three" really works well. Highlights for me are "Polly On The Shore", "Murdoch" and "Fool" all of which have that Viet-like guitar front and center. "Sally Free And Easy" may be the best song. Again the guitar melodies are to die for. I found as I was making notes as I listened to this record, that I kept writing down time after time "amazing guitar melodies", and this is true of "Fool" and "Streets Of Derry" both beautiful songs."While The Iron Is Hot" is another favourite, the instrumental section is the most energetic on the album, great tune ! Lastly is the song "Little Sadie" which has a country feel to it, but it's fun, catchy and they pull it off perfectly. Nice bass too.

A real gem from 1970. Love the guitar.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The beautiful, charming and fragile voice of Celia Humphris, the strongest point on this record, can easily be compared to Jane Relf (Renaissance), Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention) and even Annie Haslam. The music itself, very folkier and quite rock/hard rock, is definitely influenced by Fairport Convention. I find the songs more catchy than on their other album. There is a slight psychedelic dimension, but not too pronounced. The tracks are not very progressive, so that this record stands between the folk prog and the prog related styles. The rare keyboards are quite timid, mainly consisting in very good piano arrangements on a few tracks. This music is definitely acoustic guitars driven. There is a song with very good harp and orchestral arrangements. Some of the electric guitar solos are not very interesting, because they are not very catchy.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I tried very hard to get into this but just could not. I do appreciate acid-folk which makes it strange that I don't like this much. I recognize that there is some quality here but sometimes even a good band can't make an emotional connection with you. I just found a good deal of this record to be bland and not compelling listening. There are a couple tracks that are nice but that's as generous as I can be I'm afraid.

In my opinion, Vashti Bunyan's "Just Another Diamond Day" covers similar terrain in a more convincing and colorful manner, although she's definitely more folk than rock. Reading around the Web this band is quite highly thought of, and many people really love their music. So I accept that this may just be a personal taste issue for me and if you are intrigued by the album based on the praise here and elsewhere, go for it!

The album cover is great and the re-issued cd features a very nice band bio.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars Trees was an also ran of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, and even Spirogyra, and for good reason. Their interpretations of traditional material were dreary, drowning their spirit in a saturated solution of droning improvisation. The beautiful voice of Celia Humphris has no emotional range whatsoever, and as such, any comparisons to contemporary greats are superficial.

Having said all of this, the group seems to do best with original material like "Murdoch" and "Fool", where they inject a Gothic atmosphere into albeit trad-inspired melodies and where the improvisation has a more suitably jammy character. This is where they go beyond what the better known bands were doing at the time while retaining the all important interest factor. Unfortunately, for every achievement in this regard, there is a droning "Streets of Derry" or "Sally Free and Easy. For a more concise and entrancing version of the latter, listen to Alan Stivell on "Reflets". "While the Iron is Hot" is another Boshell-penned composition that is better than most on the album, other than a horribly misplaced heavy guitar solo in the middle.

While Trees took some chances and are to be commended for that, they also lost too much in the translation and suffered from arrangements that were not reined in when necessary, a virtually total lack of melodic instinct, as well as the aforementioned vocal weaknesses. This places them firmly in the third rung of UK folk rock bands, stranded on the shore of mediocrity.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars I can only give this two stars. I admit that I do get some enjoyment out of listening to it, indeed it is a cute little album. However, the long guitar solos lack focus and are very unremarkable. None of the musicians here have a distinctive style, they are decent instrumentalists but they lack that certain something that great bands must have. The songs are not bad, but the majority of them were not written by the band.

This album is only for serious fans/collectors of prog folk albums.

Review by Einsetumadur
3 stars 10/15P. Though not as professional and well-rehearsed as their colleagues from Fairport Convention, Trees presented an album in 1970 which is absolutely above the average. There are about 20 minutes of 5-star folk rock listening here, many guitar solos which are unusually captivating and some further moments of perfect band interplay. Points are deducted for some inaccuracies in timing and one or two songs which you might also skip.

Trees are a band which actually only a few die-hard folk rock fans know, and they mostly do because of the unexpectedly much-covered song The Garden of Jane Delawney or due to bassist Bias Boshell's work with The Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest. The few discussions about the band that do occur in the web, however, empty quite frequently in the awareness that this band is a particularly uninspired Fairport Convention clone with much too long instrumental sections - and that the two albums of this band are pretty similar in quality, the debut album being a wee bit more successful than the second one.

After having given both albums some spins in manifold situations, including checking the music out one afternoon while gazing at the sea from the coastline of the British county Dorset, I came to the conclusion that none of these points really suit my own perception of this album. It's hard for me to profess that this album is of a consistently superlative quality (hence the rating), but there are plenty of breathtaking moments which are utterly atmospheric, in an utterly British way.

Many bands from the, as I put it, 'back rows' of electric folk (Steeleye Span etc. being the 'front row') don't really get the essence of folk music and end up strumming around on a guitar and singing about maidens and pheasants and other occurances which are far away from their actual experiences, hence making their music unauthentic and pathetic. This problem mars a lot of the so-called 'acid folk' releases, albums which mix stoned-out jams with some shallow and badly-sung lyrics with pseudo-medieval topics. I personally think that this band's debut album The Garden of Jane Delawney falls, at least partly, into this category. Apart from the sometimes shrill vocals by Celia Humphris the band wasn't really able to pull together, the muffled drums being unable to carry three estranged lead guitars through the songs.

Unexpectedly, this album makes a huge difference. The drummer finally pulls his socks up and sets a stable rhythmic base, the lead guitar plays in a more restrained way - and with the help of a better production and the choice of slower songs this album turned out perfectly well. Of course, Trees aren't innovators like the Albion Country Band or Fairport Convention, but especially in folk music I don't care too much about innovation as long as the interpretations are able to cast a certain spell on me. Pieces like Polly On The Shore and Geordie only look like Fairport Convention on the surface - especially regarding the female vocals, the multiple electric guitars and the chunky bass guitar. But the overdriven guitar notes swell in and out in a nearly Steve Hackett-like manner on top of some pretty heavy power chords while the bass guitar rambles around the hectic drum fills. All that is distinctly more psychedelic than the gritty and more rootsy sound of Liege and Lief, especially in Polly On The Shore, my favorite piece on this record, which floats in its own sonic world with the distant fading guitars, some particularly heavenly - but at the very same time harsh - vocals by Celia Humphris, the wonderful acoustic breakdown around the 2/3 mark of the song and the climactic electric guitar solo in the last two minutes. These are definitely 6 minutes of folk rock of the finest kind.

Those who appreciated this song may also enjoy the fairly similar interpretation of Geordie which provides many languorous chills with the fantastic interplay of the swelling lead guitar and the sharp counterpoints of the rhythm guitar. This recording predates Deep Purple's Fools by a year, but the guitar technique in the solo is quite similar. After listening to the fairly messy instrumental parts of the debut album I find Unwin Brown's brief unaccompanied drum breaks quite rewarding, especially the one before the gorgeous restrained guitar solo around 2:25. And in this context one should also mention the tasteful choice of traditional folk songs, all of which have never gotten a rock band outfit before and most of which the band has seemingly learned from recordings of Carthy & Swarbrick.

Streets of Derry, making good use of the pretty unknown Fender 12-string electric guitar, is for sure the most professionally arranged song in which a consequent splitting of guitar duties makes the whole band extremely tight and interesting to listen to. The very first stanza is even stripped from all electric guitars and features only drums, a melodically independent bass line and drums plus Celia Humphris' voice. During the course of nearly 8 minutes there are always new ideas, different guitar solos by different guitarists and everything is covered in that bittersweet harmony which draws through the whole album. Sally, Free and Easy is the piece which actually brought me to this band as I was looking for a folk rock version of that Cyril Tawney song. Profiting from Bias Boshell's well-performed classicistic piano work and some competently rapid acoustic guitar picking the band manage to catch my interest for the complete 10 minutes - more so than their previous She Moves Through The Fair rework, although it's clearly music which allows you to let your mind wander for a little while. I quite like it that the band, starting with the quiet vocal parts and letting the whole piece grow into a louder instrumental part, ends the piece in a similarly peaceful vein to the beginning.

The two shortest numbers on the album are the traditional Soldiers Three and the cheekily entitled Adam De La Halle adaptation Adam's Toon. Both of them are, regarding their short length, unexpectedly effective. The former, serving as the opener of the record, features wonderfully grim harmony vocals by nearly the complete band, very much in contrast to a peaceful instrumental version of the verse placed in the second half of the song. Adam's Toon is entirely instrumental, played with guitar and percussion instruments, echoing the minimalism of the Middle Ages when this tune was composed.

Although I'm usually a bit sceptical when songwriters of our times write songs in the vein of the old folk songs, the three original compositions Bias Boshell provided for this album turn out to be quite decent; actually, the original compositions were those which, in my opinion, also saved the group's debut album from complete irrelevance. Murdoch, a ballad depicting a Tolkienesque mountainside quite akin to how one imagines Mordor, succeeds in captivating an uncomfortably dark, cold and ghostly atmosphere which one also knows from British literature. The multi-tracked vocals of Celia Humphris in the last part are indeed remarkable, but don't ever listen to this album in the car, particularly when you aren't the only one sitting in this car. Somehow the composition with the many many words put on one chord reminds me a bit of Ian Anderson's acoustic songs, mainly the ones in the end of the Ch'teau d'Isaster tapes. While The Iron Is Hot, a historically founded protest song written by Boshell from the perspective of the working class, proves that Bias Boshell wouldn't be a good lead singer, but in combination with Celia Humphris and some other band member singing backing vocals his voice is perfectly okay. With the slightly Kirby-like (q.v. Nick Drake) restrained string arrangement in the background and a fairly crude rock band part in the middle it shows in which direction folk rock may be taken as well. Fool is a nice listen, especially because of a blazing guitar solo, but ultimately not really memorable, apart from the hushed guitar lick which appears after nearly every line which is sung. Overall there are too many Celia Humphris overdubs and too few real harmony vocals.

Little Sadie, a brief piece of American folk, however is a complete let-down which cannot be saved by some half-decent instrumental parts between the stanzas. Celia Humphris cannot keep the timing of the song, the whole arrangement is a mess and the melody gets on my nerves terribly. Think Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles or Benny the Bouncer by ELP, but performed in an amateurish way.

Since I only own the original album without the bonus CD I cannot say if buying the expanded edition would be recommendable. Apart from a BBC track and a demo you only find remixes of the original album among the bonus tracks. The remixes reportedly add additional backing vocals, lack some reverb and

The album itself is absolutely recommendable to folk rock lovers, in particular because of there are plenty of excellent haunting moments gathered on the record (Soldier's Three, Polly On The Shore, Streets of Derry, Geordie). These ethereal renderings of pretty unknown folk songs easily touch the 5-star mark. I give the complete album merely 3 stars overall because the other songs, ranging somewhere between 'bad' and 'very decent', cannot really keep up with the rest.

Review by friso
4 stars Trees - On the Shore (1970)

I like my folkrock music, it fills the room with its pleasant atmospheres and I love the slightly magical feel. Furthermore, it is the only music genre I listen to in which female vocals work really well for me. Now most of us will have heard of Steeleye Span, Pentangle and Fairport Convention. Trees' second album 'On the Shore' can easily compete with the best works of beforenamed bands.

English folkrock group Trees has two guitar players that fill the space brilliantly, great interplay and unsterstanding of roles. The vocals of Celia Humphris struck me as the best folk vocals I can think of. The warmth of a mother, the magic of an angel and the power that destincts folkrock from acoustic folk. The band has a drummer and a bass player and a slightly reverb folkrock sound, which I like. On all tracks we can hear some great melodic compositions and on the longer tracks Trees scores with atmospheric interplay. Some tracks like 'Soldier Three', 'Murdoch' and 'Fool' are very catchy in a good way. I wouldn't call Trees a very progressive band, but there's a lot of very tastefull musicianship, arranging and some nice atmospheric passages. The production is really good, captures the spirit of its time.

Conclusion. If you like folkrock this is the ideal obscurity. Four stars, but I almost fellt tempted to give five because I just like to listen to this kind of music often.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Of the various acts on the British electric folk scene in the 1970s, Trees seem to have embraced the electric rock side of their sound more stridently than the likes of Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span ever did. Showing a boldness in stark contrast to the quieter, softer approach taken by many of their contemporaries, this second album presents a perfect blend of traditional folk and psychedelic-tinged rock with long virtuoso guitar solos that I can absolutely get lost in, courtesy of Barry Clarke. Plus, keyboardist-vocalist Celia Humphris has an absolutely incredible, unmatched voice in electric folk. Top notch stuff, highly recommended for anyone who digs the direction British folk rock took in the 1970s.

Latest members reviews

4 stars TREES were a short-lived English Folk band who first emerged from the forest in 1969. They recorded two albums together: "The Garden of Jane Delawney" (1969) and "On the Shore" (1970). Neither album achieved commercial success and they were derided by the ignorant music press at the time as bein ... (read more)

Report this review (#2310437) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "One The Shore", the second and last album released by Trees in 1970 (the same year as their debut) is much different musically. The compositions are more (only two covers) and much more mature and progressive. The band leaves time for their songs to develop and has already established a more atm ... (read more)

Report this review (#299486) | Posted by DeKay | Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Much of the music on this album is uninspired standard folk-rock in the vein of Fairport Convention. I unfailingly get bored each time I listen to this album. Gone are the psychedelic touches, beautiful singing, inspired instrumental sections, great guitar parts and great songs of 'The Garden of J ... (read more)

Report this review (#214799) | Posted by listen | Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I just bought this album, i'd only heard one song off it but i was convinced it would be amazing due to it's cover. When i played the whole album i was a little disapointed, the are only a three good songs for me: "Slly Free and Easy", "Polly On The Shore" and "Fool". All the other songs get pre ... (read more)

Report this review (#212274) | Posted by Marcfras93 | Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8.8/10 Great Trees follow up to their outstanding first album is in many ways a continuation of the great sound, albeit lacking a bit in a few departments. The music on here is not drastically different in any ways, but it is feels much more traditional than did their first album. Tracks f ... (read more)

Report this review (#145422) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Trees are a rather weak band. They borrow heavily from other folk rock bands, most obviously The Fairport Convention and sound very second rate. Yes, this album is not devoid of good songs and arrangements. For instance Fool is a good song and the bass playing is strong throughout. However ... (read more)

Report this review (#110810) | Posted by Psychedelia | Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Clearly influenced by Fairport Convenrtion. But, if Fairport invented folkrock, then Trees invented folk-progressive rock. I first heard this LP many years ago (in 1970), as a teenager, on my transiistor radio under the pillow! Kid Jenson, of Radio Luxemberg, used to play it a lot and I knew s ... (read more)

Report this review (#87350) | Posted by | Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Comparing it to first album,"On the shore" is much more mature album and one of the best I have heard so far in this sub-genre.Instrumentation,especially on trad.songs,is absolutely amazing and Celia's voice is more forceful and cleaner.Extended guitar solos don't seem aimless anymore and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#83092) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Friday, July 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes i know....yet another 5 star review from me!!! Now, one of my colleagues,have - lately told us/ indeed mentioned in this very site,that we (reviewers an all) should not go to extremes, using the five star rating!! I really ..ahem....over doing it!! In terms of giving 5 stars!! But.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#28737) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Monday, April 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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