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Tea And Symphony

Prog Folk

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Tea And Symphony An Asylum For The Musically Insane album cover
3.82 | 35 ratings | 5 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Armchair Theatre (3:55)
2. Feel How So Cool The Wind (3:19)
3. Sometime (4:16)
4. Maybe My Mind (With Egg)(3:44)
5. The Come On (4:32)
6. Terror In My Soul (6:08)
7. Travelling Shoes (4:27)
8. Winter (3:19)
9. Nothing Will Come To Nothing (6:15)

Total Time: 39:55

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Clempson ('Clem') / guitar
- Jeff Daw / flute, guitar, vocals
- Gus Dudgeon / drums
- James Langston / guitar, vocals, woodwinds
- Nigel Phillips / keyboards, vocals, percussion
- Bob Lamb / drums

Releases information

LP Harvest SHVL 761
CD Repertoire REP 4559-WP 1995
CD Si-Wan SRMC 6021
CD Orange 65001 (2007 remaster)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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TEA AND SYMPHONY An Asylum For The Musically Insane ratings distribution

(35 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

TEA AND SYMPHONY An Asylum For The Musically Insane 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!!!

This amazing thing about the Archives is that you get a fair amount of albums in all sub- genres that rank from the strange , obscure all the way to the frankly bizarre. And all genre considered , one of the more bizarre is the aptly titled debut from this trio. This record dates from 69 ( on the great progressive label Harvest) and is a perfect example (almost a textbook case) of acid-folk but with such a twist of bizarre that it must rank into the folk-prog sub-genre , which has its own share of bizarrerie. Wrapped in a superb psych drawing ( a bit in the style of Beatles 's Yellow Submarine) gatefold sleeve with a no-less superb inside artwork , this uncanny and baroque oeuvre is really a lost gem, one of those rare 24 carrat stuff that only comes so often.

The opening track is a hard to classify track meandering between a few styles (even developping for a few second into the Greensleeves theme) , but staus unfocused enough to destabilize the unwarned listener , but if experienced enough to get him ready for what comes up next. The second track delves into the frozen depths of demon worlds and chilly tales , freezing you to death, only to bring you back to reality with a barroom sing-along tune. Sometimes takes a plunge back into the bizarre and oblique world just left before , reminding the proghead of the insane world of Comus , and warning you of dangers soon to come in your affective life. Maybe my mind is another sombre affair with a voice that sometimes rings like Family's Roger Chapman and might just be the highlight of the first side. This first side ends into a blues , probably the low point on the album , but this might be up for debate because they are equally at ease into this style as well!

The second side is clearly the better one , and it is the succession of a few masterful "songs" like those that make an album a real classic. Terror In My Soul is just as scarry and terrorizing as Comus's Drip Drip , with its sinister flute underlining a superbly tense acoustic guitar strumming. Comes next is a superb adaptation of Fred Neil's Travelling Shoes , and if it was not for the vocals , you'd swear you'be on the Traffic debut album with its delightful pastoral/hippy imagery. Outstanding and astounding! The next track , aptly titled Winter returns to the chilly athmospheres with a haunting cello in the background and bizarre noises evoking stressed and chilled birds calls . The closing track starts out on a harpsichord and flute intro to diverge back into the madness we have now grown accustomed to (we had no choice unless getting locked in forever into the Musically Insane Asylum), but soon we waltz into a great swingy jazz tune to plunge into deep madness (almost free jazz) forever as they apologize for their mischief just accomplished.

Guess what , even if you are not insane , you might want to get a room into this asylum/hotel , where you might just never leave but not really want to check out either, to mis-quote our dear Maani!! Another one of those pearls that I will fight for all progheads to investigate just like I did for Comus , Spirogyra and recently Jan Dukes De Grey. Flabbergasting masterpiece even if I do not give the fifth star.

Review by Matthew T
4 stars Often placed in the acid psych bin but although in places the album does sound in that catergory it is progressive as well. A lot of acoustic guitar is used throughout these tunes with a mixture of keyboards. Eccentric could be used to describe the style of this album.

Armchair Theatre is the 1st track on this album and could be described best as something that seems to be from the 1930's in places with a blues vaudeville sound which takes a more modern approach to the end of the tune with a Kazzo used in places.Feel How Cool the Wind is the 2nd tune with a slow dreamy feel and with what sounds like wind in the background primarily over acoustic guitar with keyboards . Why I am listing tracks in order because there is a far amount of variation and styles used throughout as with the next song Sometime is another Acid folk tune and shows the vocals employed throughout with which were sung with different band members at the same time in unison or used as an echo effect with the backing vocals. Track 4 Maybe My Mind( With Egg) has the strangest title and is very acid in texture. Blues influence is present on this album with folk as with the following track The Come On. The last track 9 would be considered Avante Garde for me and the song leads in with a flute intro and a Keyboard sounding like a Harpsichord, the tune at the start and end remind me of Peter Hammil but that is about as far as it goes and the tune quickly goes to a keyboard ( piano) solo and then the Avante Garde seems to appear.

All in all a very interesting listen that takes time to appreciate but the reward is there with a bit of peserverance. I will admit with my first listen of this album the response was Ehhhhh but give it another go and enjoy what really is something you will not hear anywhere else. Original and different and that most likely is the reason this album did not sell well back then. Great cover as well.

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars A strange little album by a few guys from Birmingham which, at times, borders on the downright weird. There's a very unusual effect on the vocals that reminds me of the beginning of 'One of these days...' by Pink Floyd. After around eight or nine listens to this I still can't tell if it really IS an electronic effect or not. The whole thing sounds a bit schizo to me... There are one or two 'normal' sounding tracks immediately followed by something completely bonkers. This is a good thing as it enables each part to stand out more. There are bits of Floyd's 'Piper at the Gates...', Vaudelillian dance hall and bar room sing alongs. A real mish mash that holds itself together brilliantly. A true gem that I was very surprised to find considering it was recorded in 1969.

My personal favourite is 'Feel How So Cool The Wind' - a very unusual tune that sounds chilly and creepy with the aforementioned vocals and wouldn't be amiss on Floyd's 'Ummagumma' on one of it's more experimental parts.

Fans of Comus should definitely check this album out.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This interesting album is certainly for the musically insane (in a good way). It is not the traditional prog folk album like one by Trees or Fairport Convention, despite being released around the same time. The instruments are more or less standard for a folk band: vocals, guitar, bass, percussio ... (read more)

Report this review (#230817) | Posted by Concentration Moon | Monday, August 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When I purchased this fairly odd album, a seller at my prog music shop must have thought I was going insane. Luckily for me, I wasn't. I was just curious. Tea And Symphony's debut is a progressive folk album with psychedelic elements, bits of classical influence and often a hysterical feel. It co ... (read more)

Report this review (#180680) | Posted by Mlaen | Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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