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THESE TRAILS

Prog Folk • United States


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These Trails biography
Hailing from Hawaii, THESE TRAILS, which would be better-described as a collection of people who created an album called These Trails together than as a band proper, released one album in 1973. These musicians did not perform professionally together in gigs, nor did they make other recordings together. The album These Trails was a limited private pressing on the local Sinergia label, and later gained an underground following after certain vinyl collectors spread the word and the music. The album was re-released by Drag City in 2011.

The major writers and performers of the album were Margaret Morgan (dulcimer, guitar, vocals) and Patrick Cockett (slide guitar, guitar, tabla, vocals) -- Patrick Cockett later played ukulele with Taj Mahal. Morgan and Cockett had grown up in Kawa'i, had studied traditional Hawaiian music, and lived together playing and singing songs inspired by the natural beauty and cultural attributes of the Hawaiian islands.

They met Dave Choy, who was a studio engineer in Honolulu, and recorded with him in studio. Choy employed his use of a state-of-the art ARP synthesizer, which added a stranger, eccentric or askew dimension to the music. Choy also did the arrangements, played the recorder, and made the final mix.

The sitarist, guitarist and singer Carlos Pardeiro, who was born in Uruguay, was also brought into the studio to perform on the album. Also, Eric Kingsbury on guitar and Ron Rosha were brought into the studio to perform. Rosha played the ipu, which is a  percussion instrument made from gourds, and is commonly used to provide the beat for hula dancing. Boogie Kalama put his foot down, literally, by adding his foot performance to the proceedings.

These Trails is likely to appeal to various people into Acid Folk (psychedelic folk), music from Hawaii, types of world folk music, and off-beat psychedelia. One is likely to find find similarities with performers such as Linda Perhacs, as well as Vashti Bunyan, Shelagh McDonald, and Joni Mitchell. Additionally, for those into music such as Extradition's Hush, Pentangle, The Incredible String Band, Spirogyra, and others of the acid folk persuasion, this music should be of interest.

- (Logan)

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3.95 | 2 ratings
These Trails
1973

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 These Trails by THESE TRAILS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 2 ratings

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These Trails
These Trails Prog Folk

Review by Logan
Special Collaborator Ex-Administrator

4 stars These Trails are made for walking.

These Trails released just one album, which was a very limited, private pressing release in 1973. It wouldn't be until considerable years later that it got any significant attention, albeit this is still an obscurity. An obscurity that I find charming. While I place this roughly in the acid folk category, most of it is not really psychedelic. It's a mix.

I thought about doing a full track breakdown, but instead I'll mention some that may be of particular interest. While the initial highlight for me was the weird, psychedelic "Psyche I & Share Your Water", which starts off so beautifully, then turns so strange, the rather more conventional "El Rey Pescador" I find so utterly gorgeous that were I to make a mix album with but one song from this album, that would be my choice. It features the terrific vocals of Carlos Pardeiro, who clearly comes across, and was, a professional singer. Such beautiful guitar work, and that addition of sitar gives it something of a Spanish music meets raga quality. "Garden Botanum" is another of the stranger tracks, and the synths give it an unusual off-kilter feel. And tracks like "Hello Lou" and "Waipou" are wonderful.

While I wouldn't so much describe it as folk-rock, I think that the way the synthesizer is incorporated gives it more Prog appeal (of the electronic Prog, Dionne- Bregent ilk). Mostly I would recommend it to those who can appreciate both Acid Folk and sunshine folk,

I think it can fit alongside various acid folk acts in the archives such as Linda Perhacs ( Parallelograms), Vashti Bunyan, Shelagh McDonald, and various acid folk or acid folk related ones outside of it. It has some of Joni Mitchell's qualities, and in parts it reminds me of Comus' To Keep From Crying, which is hardly a bad thing in my estimation. While the mix of Hawaiian music, Spanish, hippyish folk, electronics, chamber folk , and psychedelia is quite unique, certainly to my collection, for those who like this, I would recommend listening to the wondrous Extradition's Hush as well as Linda Perhacs Parallelograms , Additionally, I would suggest that it has something of a "The Wicker Man" (1973) soundtrack (a favourite of mine) vibe to it, only more so if "The Wicker Man" took place on a lovely, breezy, laid back Hawaiian island and was more luau than sinister sacrifice. Still, I rather sense something slightly sinister lurking under the surface of this hippyish album, and perhaps a pig was sinisterly sacrificed for that luau (I'd rather think they were vegans). But that may merely be a product of my disturbed psyche.

If I have a quibble, a minor one, the vibrato of Margaret Morgan can be a little too distracting, but I absolutely love this album. Not that ratings matter much methinks, but five for me, and four for PA purposes (although I would not claim that it is an "excellent addition to any prog rock collection". I would say that it's likely to be an excellent addition to well rounded folkies who like Hawaiian folk music, hippy stuff, and acid folk -- how odd that that is not an option for the rating. I would sooner recommend this to folkies than proggers, and to those into gentle, pastoral music rather than thrash metal, as one might expect of a folk album. This is an essential album in my collection that I have returned to again and again.

Thanks to Logan for the artist addition.

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