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Tea And Symphony - Jo Sago CD (album) cover

JO SAGO

Tea And Symphony

 

Prog Folk

3.81 | 17 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

T&S's second album got a real peculiar and one of the most undeserved treatments in rock's history. Just why did the Harvest label actually sabotaged T&S' second album, the conceptual Jo Sago, a Caribbean immigrant's adaptation into England's post economic boom crisis year of the early 70's. Maybe the controversial naked black man artwork didn't help the album, or Harvest didn't believe in T&S's potential after such an incredible and promising debut album? In either case, before this reissue in Cd format, Jo Sago was fetching around 500 USD in auctions, mostly because Harvest only pressed way too few copies and some ended up getting trashed in the bins. The group is still the original trio of Langston (vocals, guitars), Daw (guitars, flute, bass) and keyboardist Wilson, with all three members sharing percussions (since drummer Nigel Phillips is not mentioned but wrote three tracks) and guitar playing, but apparently getting no outside help as they did on the debut.

The A-side is made up of a sidelong title track, which tells of Sago's adventures taking a silly turn, reminding in many ways the atmosphere of Giles, Giles & Fripp's Cheerful Insanities. While not quite as brilliant as they were on the debut album, T&S pulls a mini tour de force in this "epic", where there are some Caribbean music interludes, with langston's voice reminiscent of Family's Roger Chapman. Starting on a cello line, then 12 strings guitar arpeggios, the track has quintessential English folk spirit and the opening Miniature is absolutely superb. An imperturbable narrating voice leads us under a cello underlining, into a weird Monty Python-like sound collage of Nyada. The tracks goes along smoothly, passing from chapter to chapter, with some highs and not- so highs, but overall, it retains enough the attention to be fully a enjoyable track and ending on a totally wacky Goodnight movement.

The flipside is no less interesting, opening on the bizarre and almost grotesque Try Your Luck, with its intricate construction and time sig. The following yourself is another interesting track, but goes a bit unnoticed just before Green Fingered-Redhanded's total wackiness, which in itself serves as an intro to the superb flute& cello-laden Seasons Turn To One. View To The Sky and its successor Nortihorticulturalist are both again laden with that typical English weirdness that seems to emanate from the Python spirit meeting The Beatles' quirky arrangements. The album closes on a short guitar arpeggio threesome called Dangling.

Overall, maybe not as brilliant as their Asylum debut, Jo Sago is nevertheless a superb, and still is a breathtaking album that is all too ashamedly forgotten nowadays. This FootPrint Record reissue might not be a legit release (but I really don't know of this), but it has indeed one huge merit: give a second life to one of the most obscure rock albums and to give it a much-needed small ray of sunshine. Don't walk to your local store, run for it!!

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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