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Dulcimer - And I Turned As I Had Turned As a Boy CD (album) cover

AND I TURNED AS I HAD TURNED AS A BOY

Dulcimer

 

Prog Folk

3.47 | 21 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Well seriously, with a name like Dulcimer and an album cover like this one, you really should know what you’re getting into without even listening to this record. And your preformed impressions would be dead-on correct for the most part: acoustic folk, mostly languid, and full of little fantasy vignettes and a slightly bawdy tale or two. The instrumentation is stock of the trade as well with 6- and 12-string guitars and bass, but also glockenspiel, harmonica, mandolin and even a couple songs with a dulcimer. There’s even a few passages of ominous-sounding and stiff-lipped British spoken-word passages courtesy of the Richard Wood (aka Baron Holderness? Not sure. If so he is also the late Richard Wood, and a war hero to boot).

But there are enough little dalliances with humor and fantasy and the occasional charming lyrical turn or arrangement to place these guys within at least the past half-century musically. On “Ghost of the Wondering Minstrel Boy” for example, a dead lad’s spirit wanders from a Tudor manor to an Eskimo igloo in a fruitless search of someone who will trade him a spot at their warm fire in exchange for one of his tales. In the end he is seen passing through the vacuum of space past a couple of chess-playing astronauts in their ship who refuse him admittance as well. Weird stuff, delivered with soft acoustic guitar strumming and a bleating harmonica.

But much of the album is pretty much stock folk, including the staid “Gloucester City”, the mandolin- laden “Starlight”, and the lithe love ditty “Lisa’s Song”.

Most of the songs here are a scant two or three minutes, pretty much in keeping with most traditional folk music of the period. The band does manage one extended track, the eight-minute “Caravan” that features lengthy dulcimer, mandolin and glockenspiel passages and more of Sir Wood’s spoken-word baritone in the vein of Richard Burton on Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’ but a bit less dramatic. This is the song that gives the album its title, coming from a passage of the now aged lad in this tale of world travels who looks back from whence he came at the end of a lifelong journey. A bit corny today, but solid stuff nearly forty years ago.

I don’t know that this is much of a progressive album strictly speaking, but the band would do better on some of their subsequent recordings. This one is underdeveloped and not particularly ambitious, but then again it comes from a time when everything pretty much fit that description so accommodations have to be made for the period in which it was recorded I suppose. And extra kudos for the excellent album artwork and tastefully arranged liner notes. You don’t see that kind of attention paid to album art these days thanks to digital wizardry which can render something like this in minutes as opposed to the likely days or even weeks that were spent in creating it by hand so many years ago.

This is a solid three star album, not four but one that will likely appeal to many prog folk fans as well as those who just enjoy British folk music in general. Recommended if that describes you.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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