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Dulcimer - Room For Thought CD (album) cover

ROOM FOR THOUGHT

Dulcimer

 

Prog Folk

3.00 | 5 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Interestingly enough, "Room for Thought" is one of Dulcimer's better albums in terms of its progressive tendencies and general 'listenability'. Unlike some of their later works for President Records, this one is tastefully laced with mildly acid folk arrangements and overall bright, airy sonic sensibilities. The interesting part comes from this having been recorded as a sophomore followup to their "And I Turned as I Had as a Boy" debut way back in 1971. Like their first record, this one was financed by producer Larry Page (the Kinks, the Troggs ? not the Larry Page who started Google). But changing tastes and poor financing for Page's label kept this from being released until the tiny Background label picked up the options for Dulcimer's works in the early nineties.

Lots of decent prog music has come into the public consciousness over the past couple of decades thanks to the internet, improvements in digital duplication and remastering, and the comparatively lower cost to release an album than what existed back when this was first committed to tape. Good thing too, or we wouldn't have works from Midwinter, the Third Estate, Spring and all kinds of other previously forgotten acts from the heady days of progressive music.

That said, this isn't a masterpiece or anything, and at times the band shows an unevenness that demonstrates why they never hit big in their original incarnation (they reformed to record some additional material for President in the mid-nineties, and reportedly continue to piece together lineups for the occasional live show even today). "The Planters Cottage" for example includes a spoken-word passage of original poetry that might be trying to emulate the Moody Blues and their tendency to do the same thing, but it is neither as profound nor artistic as what the Moodies pulled off in their prime. And tracks like "Running on Down the Road" and "Mr. Time" are much closer to the sort of contemporary British folk the band would gravitate toward on their final couple of albums.

But elsewhere the band manages to put out some decent though mellow acid folk that stands up fairly well even today. The opening "To Need Her" shows promise, as does "Empty Hallways" with its lively acoustic guitar strumming and harmonized vocals accented by harmonica and an easy-going bass line. "Missing the Head" and "Scarlet Lady" even employ borderline psych guitar riffs and lively tempos that gets one's foot tapping if nothing else.

But the album ends on an off note with the staid and too conventional "But Maybe Not", a signal of the more conservative approach the band would take as the second iteration of their career played out on the President label in the nineties. So be it ? people age and tend to become more conservative as a result generally, particularly folks who have a penchant for folk music. Too bad, but so it goes.

In all this is a decent album from a band that never really made a major impression on the music industry. It has a place in the collection of serious prog folk fans at least, and most conventional folk fans will probably find something to like as well. So three stars it is, and recommended for folkies of all stripes.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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