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Sindelfingen - Odgipig CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.61 | 23 ratings

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4 stars Sindelfingen were a short-lived British quartet who played folk-leaning progressive music and who released a single studio album during their tenure. The band included a pair of young brothers who would go on to lengthy careers as professional musicians. Guitarist/bassist Mark Letley, who was only seventeen when this album was recorded, would accompany guitarist/lead vocalist Richard Manktelow to the eighties pop trio BABY GRAND and later release a minor hit single along with his younger brother Matt as THE STUDIO BAND. Matt, who was himself just twelve years old in 1973 was not a member of Sindelfingen at the time, but would replace Roger Thorn as the record was wrapping up and played as a member of the band on the lengthy bonus track “The Princess and the Predator” which accompanies most of the reissued versions of the record. In 2000 Matt became the drummer for STATUS QUO. Manktelow, Thorn and glockenspieler Roger Woods seem to have disappeared from the music business in the ensuing years since the band dissolved.

The original album is rather short, clocking in at barely thirty-six minutes but full of archetypal mid- seventies folk-inspired music. The slightly pompous arrangements on the longer tracks, as well as Manktelow’s theatrical vocal style reveal some of the records that were likely in the band’s collection at the time; Beggars Opera, possibly some Canterbury, and undoubtedly a fair amount of hippie folk. There is a predominance of acoustic guitar strumming, a solid rhythm section of drums and bass, and a mild renaissance feel thanks to the scattered glockenspiel chimes. One complaint really is the lack of fullness to the band’s sound, owing mostly to the fact that a couple guitars (one acoustic), bass, drums and the glockenspiel provide pretty much all the sound on the album. Woods does play around with some oscillated sound generation or at least that’s what the liner notes say, but I’m not sure where those sounds crop up in the music.

The original album consists of three longer tracks and three short ones. The short ones include an intro (“Song for Dawn”) in the finest tradition of acoustic folk; a snippet of classical interpretation on guitar (“Mark’s Bach”); and the closing title track. None of these stand out much but all provide separation between the larger works.

“Today & Tomorrow” on the other hand is a lively guitar-driven number with Letley providing bass and electric tracks while Manktelow strums an acoustic and chants minstrel-like vocals. “Perpetual Motion” is even longer and heavily favors the glock in kind of a blue-collar ‘Tubular Bells’ sort of intro that segues nicely into acoustic guitar and more minstrelling. Later on the song transitions again, this time to electric guitar and bass in a frenzied passage punctuated by single glock strikes in time and pitch with the drums. Not exactly world-class percussion, but decent enough for the period. The album closes with another acoustic track ('Odgipig).

This record has been reissued numerous times on CD, many of those of dubious lineage, but most include the thirteen minute bonus instrumental track “The Princess and the Predator” on which young Matt Letley plays simple but enthusiastic drums behind a much more electric guitar-driven arrangement (presumably played by his brother) and not much else. I’ve read this became a closing number in the band’s live shows.

There is very little information about this band available outside of liner notes and the occasional on-line review. They didn’t leave much of a legacy, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone try to acquire one of the ultra-expensive original vinyl pressings since they won’t get an ultra-enjoyable return on their investment. But the reissued CDs are plentiful, and this makes for a fun to listen to snapshot of a simpler and more creative time in progressive folk music. Recommended for people who like that sort of thing from time to time. Four stars is a bit of a stretch but that’s what I’m going with for now (subject to recall on a whim).


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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