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The Way We Live - A Candle for Judith CD (album) cover


The Way We Live


Prog Folk

3.71 | 22 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Sole album under this name from a long-standing partnership between Steve Clayton and Jim Millne, and one of the rare releases on DJ John Peel's Dandelion label. The album got a re-issue in the Cd format in the early 90's under the Repertoire label as well as the Tractor album following it. As opposed to their later releases on the Tractor name (which will predominantly hard rock), TWWL's only album is a charming fusion between folk (laced with Indian music), psychedelia and hard rock. The duo shared duties along the following lines, Clayton writing the poetic lyrics and playing percussions while Milne wrote the music and played every other instrument and sang.

Their songs can be divided in roughly two equal categories, the first being a relatively straight hard rock (a more progressive Status Quo or a rockier early Wishbone Ash), the second being a psychey Folk rock, with not many cross-over between the two styles, but still enough to make this album rather special. Opener King Dick is a straight hard rocker not devoid of progressive twists, but clearly the acoustic tracks give you better idea of what these two individuals can do: the hippy idealism of Squares, the short Angle and the Indian raga of Siderial (reminding a bit what Zeppelin did on the second side of their third album) are the centre of the album. And as the semi-acoustic Storm closes the first side of the album under huge heavy riffs but the evolution is constant and Clayton's drumming impressive.

The second side is also starting on a strong riffy rocker Willow, Milne is clearly looking towards Mountain's Leslie West, especially once the duo broke from the riff to built into a great crescendo solo, culminating just before the track reprise without much warning for a short moment and deviating into another lengthy scorching solo: lovely, charming and superb. Sandwiched between two monster tracks, the sort Madrigal provides a superb acoustic contrast just before the almost 9-min finale, The Way Ahead. Although this track does not change pattern too often, it might just be their better moments as the duo explores all the possibilities of their musical motif.

Nothing to get incredibly excited over, TWWL 's sole album is one of those interesting semi-precious stones that got unjustly over-looked in their time, and it sure deserves a little sunshine some three decades later. Overall, this album could fit into art rock, but their biggest influence is definitely folk, something much less apparent in their next album under the name of Tractor. Actually I find Tractor much sloppier, less delicate and much less prog.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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