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Prog Folk

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Forest Forest album cover
3.02 | 23 ratings | 5 reviews | 4% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bad penny (2:38)
2. A glade somewhere (3:08)
3. Lovemakers' ways (3:23)
4. While you're gone (2:30)
5. Sylvie(we'd better not pretend) (3:49)
6. A fantasy you (2:46)
7. Fading light (4:27)
8. Do you want some smoke? (2:55)
9. Don't want to go (6:50)
10. Nothing else will matter (4:10)
11. Mirror of life (4:43)
12. Rain is on my balcony (4:24)

Total Time: 45:43


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Derek Allenby / mandolin, pipes, harmonica, harmonium, percussion, vocals
- Hadrian Welham / guitar, pipes, harmonica, cello, electric harpsichord, harmonium, percussion, mandolin, organ
- Martin Welham / 12 string guitar, organ, harmonium, piano, pipes, percussion, vocals

Releases information

LP Harvest SHVL 760 / LP Harvest SKAD 418 / CD Beat Goes On BGOCD 236 (1994) along with "Full Circle" as two lp's on one cd.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Forest/Full Circle / ForestForest/Full Circle / Forest
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FOREST Forest ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (26%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FOREST Forest reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Forest's first album is a typical product of late 60's British folk or folk-rock but does not really qualify as folk-prog like the Trees or Comus would. This is also much calmer folk than Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span , Pentangle and others Incredible String Band.

But we are not far away from all of those groups mentionned above and if you enjoy them , you are likely to enjoy this. There are some highlights here, notably the two longer tracks , Fading Lights and Don't Want To Go , but all other tracks are fine, really.

Overall , I think that Forest could've used more percussion to make their music, slightly more interesting. As Lise says in the band's intro , they are very enjoyable but hardly essential in context of our ProgArchives.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was really charmed by this bunch of guys crafting up some "raw songs of the earth", as described on the album liner notes. Their sound texture builds up from layers of acoustic guitars, mandolins, flutes and male vocals on both choral harmonies and melodic solo patterns. There are some subtle keyboards breaking up the purist medieval instrumentation, and also some lyrics are not following the ancient themes. This does not ruin the wholeness in my opinion, but makes it more fuzzy and surreal reflector of its time; There are small doses of psychedelia included in this soup, I believe. Though the music is built from simple elements, the guys have managed to fill their wailing tunes with very strong emotions, and I'm receptive to this kind of approach. All of the compositions are quite good in my opinion, but the best song of them all is "A Glade Somewhere", a really shameless crying after a woman presented in a form of powerful harmonics and melodies, making up a really pretty piece of music. The cover picture of this album presents the music it conceals perfectly. Raw color drawings fit with the basic instrumentations accessible to anybody, and the image is full of mystery and glorification of the ancient days. I bought myself a nice vinyl reissue pressed by "Radioactive", and one can also find a pic of minstrels gettin' high in ye glade within the heart of gatefold sleeve. You can surely flavor your nights of rustic aesthetics with this record, and it is thus highly recommended.
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Forest is a band that I think sometimes gets elevated a bit by revisionist history when it comes to progressive folk. This and their other album were originally released on Harvest Records, and this one was recorded at Abbey Road where John Peel reportedly doted on the band. The originals are near impossible to get your hands on today without a fairly fat checkbook, but both albums were reissued by Beat Goes On in the nineties as a much more accessible 2CD set. This debut was also reissued by Radioactive Records on both CD and on limited-issue vinyl, and both these can be had pretty easily.

As near as I can tell these three guys must have a friendship that dates back to their youth, as they have some documented history dating to 1966 as the Forester of Walesby, and there is an impossible-to-find single from the group that was released around 1968 or so. This album was recorded and released about a year after that.

The music here has a medieval feel to it, and the combination of flute and acoustic instrumentation, multi-part harmonies, and lyrics about fairies and lovers and firing up a fatty combine to place this squarely in that latter sixties as a mildly psych-influenced brand of mellow wyrd folk. These guys got some decent attention in the studio it appears though, perhaps from Peel, or maybe Paul McCartney wandered over between takes of “Here Comes the Sun” to bogart a spliff and lent his two cents to the production. Who knows. The result in any case is a decidedly sixties trippy folk album that weathers the test of time about as well as all those old Deadhead Earth moms who crowd the free clinics today looking for their insulin and methadone treatments.

Okay maybe that’s a bit harsh. These guys were certainly sincere in trying to lay down some light, fantasy folk with lots of love and flowers and warmth-for-humankind themes, and on that count they succeeded. They also found themselves admired by a select few industry types and other musicians, but only managed to stay together for a few years after this release before fading away. The album and the band would have been far more successful had this release come out in 1965 then in 1969, but we don’t get to choose when we are born so it is what it is.

Musically this is a fun album to listen to as long as it is taken for what it is: a psych-and-patchouli driven thing that had nearly become and anachronism by the time it was released. The musical quality is very good though, with each of the trio working multiple instruments and the instrument selection itself lending well to the aura of the album: mandolin, cello, harpsichord, harmonium, flute and various pipes, and little bits of embellished percussion throughout that add to the mood of a romp through the woods on a warm summer afternoon with a lover.

The individual songs are a mixed-bag. “Do you want some smoke?” for example has a lazy cadence and flat deliver that suggests the band had plenty smoke to share at the time they recorded this. “Bad Penny” has nice vocal harmonies and pipes but sounds an awful lot like the post-Mod Moody Blues’ first two albums – I keep wanting to chant “Go now!” every time I hear this one.

The tempo and instrumentation of “A Glade Somewhere” makes it sound a bit like a Fairport Convention tune minus Sandy Denny, while the male vocals actually remind me just a bit of Dylan around the same period.

One of my favorite tunes is the languid “Nothing Else Will Matter” which has some pleasant strumming acoustic guitar, great three- part harmonies, and just the right dose of electric harpsichord to push it out of the sixties and suggest the band might have had more of a future had they evolved that sound instead of fracturing into the three-part experiment that become their second and final album.

Today Martin Welham performs with his son Tom as “the Story”, although I don’t get the impression they make a living with that. Derek Allenby has a band called Southernwood which also features his wife Cathy. I’ve no idea with Adrian Welham does, but I’m sure there’s music in that life somewhere.

This was a very good progressive folk album in 1969, even though nobody was calling it that then. It’s still good, but doesn’t hold up over time quite as well as some of the classic recordings of that day, largely because the arrangements and lyrical themes expressed here were already becoming outdated even as the band recorded them. So three stars is fair, and if you had to pick one of the band’s two albums I would make it this one.


Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Forest" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by UK folk rock act Forest. The album was released through Harvest Records in 1969. A CD version wasn't available until Beat Goes On Records released "Forest" and the band's second full-length studio album "Full Circle (1970)" on one CD in 1994. Forest formed in 1966 under The Foresters of Walesby monicker but shortened their name to Forest in 1968.

The band are a trio consisting of brothers Martin and Hadrian Welham and Derek Allenby. The three guys play a varity of acoustic instruments like mandolin, pipes, harmonica, harmonium, percussion, piano, 12 string guitar, organ and cello. While their music is often labelleled folk rock, there are no drums on this album. The music is generally pretty conventional acid folk in the less odd/psychadelic end of the scale. The material is of relatively good quality but there is a way to go before they reach the quality of acts like The Incredible String Band or Comus. For that the tracks are simply too unremarkable and also too hard to tell apart.

Fans of the genre might find this a nice addition to their collections, but to those who only want the most seminal acid folk on their shelf, they can safely pass this one by. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I am grabbing this very early prog folk record - the British group Forest's first from 1969; this is a record which from first moment to last is a "hippie" record and psychedelic folk would describe it best. Forest feautures Derek Allenby (mandolin, pipes, harmonica, harmonium, percussion and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1042336) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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