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Jan Dukes De Grey

Prog Folk

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Jan Dukes De Grey Sorcerers album cover
3.76 | 61 ratings | 7 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dragons (0:55)
2. Rags, Old Iron (2:24)
3. 28th June, Village Song (3:03)
4. High Priced Room (2:39)
5. Sorcerers (2:41)
6. Ode to a Schoolgirl (1:25)
7. Cheering Crowd (2:34)
8. Out of the Eastern Hills (2:31)
9. MSS (2:00)
10. Texas (2:44)
11. Yorkshire Indian Sitting in the Sun (2:17)
12. Wonder Child (2:24)
13. Dominique (3:59)
14. Trust Me Now (3:33)
15. Forms (1:42)
16. City After 3:00 Am (4:04)
17. Butterfly (3:32)
18. Turkish Time (4:56)

Total Time 49:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Bairstow / clarinet, flute, tenor saxophone, chanter, bongos, congas, cymbals, bells, tabla, vocals
- Derek Noy / 6- & 12-string guitars, bass, organ, celesta, piano, chanter, bongos, tabla, vocals

- David Hitchcock / celesta, vocals, producer
- Peter Rynston / Fx

Releases information

Artwork: Dave Dragon

LP Decca ‎- DN 8 (1969, UK) Mono
LP Decca ‎- SDN 8 (1969, UK) Stereo

CD Akarma ‎- AD 532 (2002, Italy)

Thanks to frenchie for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JAN DUKES DE GREY Sorcerers ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (48%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JAN DUKES DE GREY Sorcerers reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4,5 stars really!!!!

An absolutely flamboyant debut album from folk duo Jan Dukes De Grey (originally from Yorkshire) that leans heavily on the progressive side with the kind of typical madness that you might find in some Jethro Tull album or even the wild Comus. The tracks are composed on 12-string guitar and sung by Derek Noy and he is accompanied on a wide variety of wind instruments and percussions by Michael Bairstow. They are absolutely complementary and there is great deal of complicity. Noy's voice is comparable to Van Morrison (of Astral Weeks) cross with the superb vocalizings that Tim Buckley and John Martyn have gotten us used to two years later and in the stronger and wilder moments he might even sound a bit like Audience's Howard Werth.

The tracks are almost entirely acoustic (a few organs here and there) and have a very pastoral feel, but the lyrics are anything but bland or conventional. Although a very calm album, every ounce of lunacy of their following album is already present here and put to great use on every track on this album. 18 tracks for a total time of almost 49 minutes, this is an incredibly long record for the times, and believe me, everyone of those minutes is loaded with the interesting accounts of Mister Noy's endeavours, in a very convincing Troubadour style. Not all that progressive per se, the album is very entertaining for all those freaks loving hippy ideals and great but troubling tales of watching the sunrise and love encounters: High Priced Rooms may mean he will die a virgin, and two minutes later he praises the courage of schoolgirls. The tracks are noticeably longer on the second side but remain under the four-minute mark except for the finale. The overall insane but tranquil feeling can also be likened to Tea And Symphony's debut album titled Asylum For The Musically Insane.

Although quite brilliant and entertaining, the album is not flawless and can be tedious to harder music freaks, but David Hitchcock (well known to progheads) manages to pull a superb production job on a real lost gem. But this album might pale in comparison with the following (and aptly titled) Mice And Rats In The Loft, but still remains a minor gem.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars This Jan Dukes de Grey group might have been only a nod in the progressive rock world had they never released MICE AND RATS IN THE LOFT. This shouldn't discount SORCERERS, one of the finer folk albums out there that few know about. I actually like this album more so than the next one even if MICE AND RATS is more suitable in a prog collection. Those looking for a precursor to MICE AND RATS might not be completely satisfied as elements of the next album are here in SORCERERS, but this is a whimsical folk album leaning into prog.

The idea of Derek Noy singing and playing a 12-string doesn't initially sound impressive, but he executes it so well (probably a byproduct of his writing) that I feel the whimsy and the charm he's trying to convey. Throw in Michael Bairstow on woodwinds for effect as well as organs, percussions and even an odd bass solo in the middle of the last track (a bit of a question mark) makes this an out-of-the-ordinary folk album. There is something to be said about the playfulness of this album making it stand out a bit. However, at eighteen tracks, we are in for overhaul in that there will be inevitably a few weak points.

One other problem is that highlights here are pretty much a subjective thing (should be a given in music but here even more so). The melodies encompassing the first third of the album are spine-tingling, particularly ''28th June, Village Song''. SORCERERS tends to weaken over the course of its length but manages to pull some great stuff later on like ''Texas'', ''Trust Me Now'', ''City After 3:00 AM'' and ''Turkish Time'', the longest cut and one of the more inventive tracks here, bass solo excluded.

I say SORCERERS is as important to a prog rock collection as the follow-up, even if it is more of a folk album. Enthusiasts of the genre might not want to pass this one up.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Anyone familiar with the drawn-out prog folk epics on Jan Dukes de Grey's famed Mice and Rats In the Loft need only glance at the track list of this one to see that the group has a very different emphasis this time around: wheeling out no less than 18 songs, the album captures the group before their progressive side really developed, instead offering a psychedelic folk blend which focuses mainly on the folk side of the equation. Overall, it's a pleasant enough album, but there was hardly a shortage of hippy folk back in the late 1960s and far better examples are available. Newcomers to Jan Dukes de Grey would be well advised to start off with the followup instead of this one, because on the basis of this they don't seem very special, and it was only with Mice and Rats that they were able to bring something really interesting to the table.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Having met via an 11-piece 60s soul band called Buster Summer Express in Leeds, England in 1968, the duo of Derek Noy and Michael Bairstow found that they shared a similar musical adventurousness and as Noy, then only 21 was setting out to find his own way after leaving the band, he crossed paths with Barstow who was auditioning for the band at the tender age of 18. Together they would become renowned for their nonesuch classic release 'Mice And Rats In The Loft,' an album so outside of the norms of the contemporary folk scene that the only other musical entity of the time that could be of equal comparison would be the similarly demented English act Comus. The duo's reputation of being one of the most original acts around caught on quickly as they gigged many venues and led to a signing with Decca Records which landed them an early touring with Pink Floyd and The Who. The duo successfully recorded their first album SORCERERS by October, 69 and released it early on in 1970 which caught them immediate attention on the university campuses although high sales and success eluded them.

While the progressive behemoth 'Mice And Rats In The Loft' syphons away every bit of attention away from this early beginning, it would be a great mistake to overlook this unique debut album from the oddly named JAN DUKES DE GREY which was a spontaneous impromptu appellation designed to sound esoteric but in reality carries no actually meaning behind it at all. SORCERERS is the exact opposite of their following paragon of progressive folk. While 'Mice' had three sprawling tracks that swallowed up the entire album allowing ample time for excursions into the most lysergic experimentation of any folk album in history, SORCERERS on the other hand is a collection of 18 tracks that hover around the three minute mark with only a couple even breaking over four. Despite performing as a mere duo with only a couple extras providing a few extra sound effects, JAN DUKE DE GREY sounds like a full band as Bairstow weaves his musical magic on clarinet, flute, tenor sax, bongos, congas and various other percussion as well as lending his vocal harmonic counterpoints. Noy on the other hand handled all the guitars, bass, celesta, piano, more percussion as well as being the other vocal half that belted out the most confident lyrical tales.

If the sheer amount of instrumentation on board isn't impressive enough, so too are the musical influences creeping in at every corner. While the main sources of inspiration at this early stage reside in bands like T. Rex and The Incredible String Band, Noy and Bairstow were far too talented to simply copy their idols and employ a range of extracurricular musical ideas that mix and meld confidently including Donovan inspired psychedelic flute patterns, classical and flamenco guitar as well as the rich melodic tradition of English folk music. Every single track on SORCERERS distinguishes itself from the next conveying everything from dark and sinister moods on tracks like 'MSS' to the more benign little joys of life as heard on tracks like 'Butterfly.' While some are more straight forward melodic developments like the rich melody heard on 'High Priced Room,' some such as 'Cheering Crowd' have a bombastic progressive time signature barrage of off-kilter guitar riffs that give a glimpse to where the music would lead them.

For me, SORCERERS is an instant classic and addictive on every level as the instrumentation is delicately forceful while the melodic harmonic lyrical prose delivers a totally new style of the era that somewhat reminds me of what Gnidrolog would advance a few years later. Also unusual for the day was the use of a heavy percussive drive adding tribal elements to melodic folk guitar which can range from the usual contemporary acts as heard from Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs to the more unusually experimentally psychedelic as heard on 'Yorkshire Indian Sitting In The Sun' with adventurous classical riffing with glissando guitar slides. Also experienced on SORCERERS is a variety of ethnic influences experienced by the Indo-raga sounding percussion to the mondo exotica oriental touch in 'Turkish Time.' SORCERERS should not be overlooked in the least and is a majorly satisfying counterpart to the one two punch that JAN DUKES DE GREY conjured up in a short timespan before disappearing into the musical ethers and allowing their acid folk creations to simmer for vast oceans of time before finally emerging as buried treasures several decades later. While the progressive compositions are nearly nonexistent at this stage, the experimental features are firing on full pistons and i cannot think of any acid folk album released before that is as unique and all-encompassing in scope as SORCERERS.

Latest members reviews

5 stars After listening First Utterance from Comus and discovering that I am actually big fan of acid folk (which apparently I was not aware before) I naturally wanted to find more similar music. All recommendations were going to Jan Dukes De Grey. Now it has already past several months sins I have found ... (read more)

Report this review (#368415) | Posted by Archangel | Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Picked this up at a second hand shop after reading a review here at PA. Read the other reviews posted above, & while I don't see them as being great, they are good. It's a shame they didn't get more attention back then, as they easily can be compared to a slightly more psychedelic Strawbs. Indeed ... (read more)

Report this review (#115983) | Posted by | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sorcerors is one of the neglected , seldom mentioned crown jewels of the genre now known as " Acid Folk ". A fairly sparse album ( certainly compared to its follow up ) it manages to convey a truly magical atmosphere - Sorcerors , indeed ! The mainly acoustic performances are sparingly embelli ... (read more)

Report this review (#59706) | Posted by | Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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