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Spirogyra - Bells, Boots And Shambles CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.16 | 153 ratings

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4 stars Containing one of the stellar voices of Prog Folk in Barbara Gaskin is only overshadowed by the sophisticated instrumental arrangements and ahead-of-its time sound engineering.

1. "The Furthest Point" (8:16) an incredibly emotional and well-recorded, well-constructed "epic." Not what I was expecting (with other Prog folk albums and the band's previous masterpiece, St. Radigunds in mind). (18.5/20)

2. "Old Boot Wine" (4:18) gentle pastoral folk flute and picked acoustic guitar and cello beneath Barbara's soothing angelic voice. Don't know why the band has had to do three very different versions of this song under this title--including an entire album in 1972--but here we have the third. (9.25/10)

3. "Parallel Lines Never Separate" (5:05) cool song, though very 60's feeling. (9.25/10)

4. "Spiggly" (1:12) cute little Beatles-esque ditty with piccolo, guitar and Barabara. (4/5)

5. "An Everyday Consumption Song" (4:29) cute little folk song with incredible harmonized vocal duet. Maybe Barbara has that effect on men: they want her to themselves. (guitar flute bass and multiple tracks of Barbara deliver an eerie/odd song. Piano joins in for the second half. Such an quirky, unusal vocal. Reminds me of 21st Century Prog Folk artist Nick Talbot (GRAVENHURTST)(8.75/10)

6. "The Sergeant Says" (3:43) another Beatles- or David Bowie-like acoustic guitar-based song over which Martin sings in a very David Bowie- (or Donovan-) like style. Even a little JTullishness in the second half. (8/10)

7. "In The Western World" (12:59) (22.25/25) - Part 1: In The Western World - Barbara with solo piano accompaniment for the first minute. Very delicate and contemplative. Beautiful melodies. And singing. At 1:28, the full band of acoustic folk instruments bursts in with a furiously paced display. (4.5/5) - Part 2: Jungle Lore - At 2:20 there is a brief stop after which the music brings forth a kind fusion of the two paces and styles--becoming much more proggy, with some interesting non-folk melodies coming from singers and lead instruments. Very active flute and cello within the aggressively strummed acoustic guitars. Ends with half a minute of recorded footsteps of a military unit en march. (8.75/10) - Part 3: Coming Back - dramatic music with a very theatric vocal performance from Martin Cockerham. Almost has a pirate/sea shanty feel to it. (4/5) - Part 4: Western World Reprise - amazing acoustic guitar strumming with full band in support. Very MOODY BLUES-like. There is a shift beginning at 10:20 during which the music becomes more symphonic and anthemic with Barbara's vocalise and trumpets blaring. My favorite section of the song and album. (5/5)

Total Time: 42:02

As powerful as St. Radigunds with much better sound production and more proggy and mature song structures and sound palettes.

B+/4.5 stars; a near masterpiece of progressive rock music and a minor masterpiece of Prog Folk.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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