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Caedmon - Caedmon CD (album) cover

CAEDMON

Caedmon

 

Prog Folk

3.49 | 16 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
4 stars CAEDMON (named after the 7th Century Father of English verse) were a Scottish five-piece Prog-Folk band, featuring a female lead vocalist and four male musicians. They got together in 1978 to record this one self-titled and self-released album at their own expense after playing a few local gigs in their native Edinburgh. Only 500 copies of the original album were pressed, which were probably given away to friends and relatives of the band members. Not surprisingly, the original LP has now become a real collectors item, selling for prices in excess of 1,000. A CD reissue of the album was released in 1994, and this long-last album treasure is now gaining some well-deserved recognition, thanks to the modern wonders of the Internet. It seemed as if that one self-titled album from 1978 might be the only album ever released by Caedmon, but they re-emerged 32 years later with another album, "A Chicken to Hug", in 2010.

Cometh with me deare friends as we travel back to Ye Olde Worlde days of yore in Olde Britannia with some traditional Folke given a modern progressive twist. We begin with "Ten Maidens Fair" which sounds as traditionally British as Morris Men looking faintly ridiculous waving sticks, swords & handkerchiefs as they prance around the Maypole. Don't be fooled though, because when you hear the sound of a very untraditional electric guitar rudely bursting into the Olde Worlde Folke proceedings, you realise this album is going to be something a little bit different. We're in Psych-Folk territory here. Track 2 "Maker Man" ambles along nicely with some laid-back electric guitar riffing and with the percussionist evidently having a good time pounding away on the bongos. It's a jolly and uplifting little number, with much shaking of tambourines, which should keep the Folkies happy. The sweet-as-honey vocalist, Angela Naylor, deserves a mention too. She has a charming English accent, despite Caedmon being a Scottish band, and her lovely voice is as soft as velvet. Onwards to Track 3 and "Death of a Fox" - a fast-paced song with Angela Naylor stretching her vocal chords to reach those high falsetto notes. The song has the feel of a traditional sea shanty, only this is a sea shanty with some extra progressive oomph added. Avast, me hearties to Track 4 "Sea Song", which opens with the delightful sound of the harpsichord and with a male singer taking over the vocal duties. It's a gentle ballad about a life on the ocean wave. Angela Naylor joins in with the singing to provide some beautiful harmonising. The electric guitarist is in his element too, with some really wild psychedelic guitar riffing to liven things up. This is wonderful stuff! Onto Track 5 now and "Aslan", another impressively stirring Psych-Folk number which reaches the parts that traditional Folk songs fail to reach. It's uplifting and emotionally appealing and it's real foot-tapper too. The guitarist is in a Folk band, but he sounds like he would be right at home riffing in a Hard Rock band with the power and passion he displays on this album. We now reach the halfway stage with Track 6 "Beyond the Second Mile", the longest track on the album at nearly 7 minutes long. This is beautiful music in the style of Sandy Denny singing "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". A song to savour, which right from the first hearing, will have you hooked with its lovely harmonising and the ever-present electric guitar riffing at the forefront. It's the highlight of the album so far. Track 7 "Living in the Sunshine" is an up-tempo number with much rattling of tambourines and a happy-go-lucky feel to it, just as the song title implies. It's enough to make you feel like going out into the garden and throwing caution to the wind by dancing around in the sunshine with gay abandon. Who cares what the neighbours might think!? We come now to Track 8 and the 6-minute-long "Storm". This is another hauntingly-beautiful ballad, guaranteed to charm and delight the senses. There's also a long instrumental interlude thrown in for good measure with a vocalise segment in the style of Annie Haslam of Renaissance. Track 9 "Columba's Song" is a lively number which gallups along nicely. It's like Fairport Convention fired up with an extra burst of adrenaline. It's fast, it's furious, but it's still rooted in folkiness. Onto Track 10 now and "Smile on Your Face", where the electric guitarist announces his presence right from the opening. This uplifting song is bright and breezy and abounding with joy and happiness and it's sure to put a "Smile on Your Face". Track 11 "Caedmon's Hymn" brings us down from the spiritual high of the previous song with a sad and mournful, melancholic lament. It's a beautiful song though and there are shades of Renaissance to be heard if you listen carefully. Onto the final song now and "Give Me Jesus", an unashamedly religious song, which comes as no surprise as the clue is in the title. Hallelujah! It's happy, it's clappy, but it's also very catchy.

This wonderful album has the recipe for success. Take some traditional Folk-Rock and stir in a liberal dose of psychedelia and progressiveness and that's the stunning album you have here. A rare album treasure that you can return to again and again and never tire of listening to. Caedmon's one-off album is worthy of being a Desert Island Disc, assuming you can find a 3-pin socket on a desert island to plug your stereo in to.

Psychedelic Paul | 4/5 |

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