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CAEDMON

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Caedmon biography
Founded in Edinburgh, UK in 1973 - Disbanded in 1978 - Reformed in 2008

Named after a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon poet-monk, CAEDMON began as a trio of veterinary students from Edinburgh University in 1973. The group's early repertoire consisted of traditional folk and spirituals, as well as cover tunes. The band expanded to a quartet the following year and managed to stretch out their touring career nearly six years before disbanding where they began (at Edinburgh) in 1978. The band's only studio album came as a result of a self-financed and produced private label recording with a pressing of just 500 copies. The band miscalculated the length of their tracks and ended up issuing a single that accompanied the vinyl album and which contained what would become tracks 6 and 12 on the 2002 Kissing Spell CD reissue.

The band has claimed PENTANGLE and FAIRPORT CONVENTION among their musical influences, as well as fellow 'Jesus freak' musicians WATER INTO WINE BAND, who they appeared with in concert on at least one occasion. They took much of the inspiration in their mildly spiritual lyrics from contemporaries such as LARRY NORMAN, PARCHMENT and AFTER THE FIRE.

CAEDMON reunited in 2008 with hopes of making new music together, and are also working to collect and release some of their earlier unissued studio and live recordings.

The band's single studio work is generally highly regarded as a solid example of seventies Jesus movement music, as well as a classic acoustic prog folk album.

>>Bio by Bob Moore, aka ClemofNazareth<<

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CAEDMON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 16 ratings
Caedmon
1978
3.08 | 3 ratings
A Chicken To Hug
2010

CAEDMON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CAEDMON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Caedmon by CAEDMON album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.49 | 16 ratings

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Caedmon
Caedmon Prog Folk

Review by 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.

 Caedmon by CAEDMON album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.49 | 16 ratings

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Caedmon
Caedmon Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Scotland-based Folk Rock ensemble, established in 1973 by both English and Scottish students of the Edinburgh University.Originally they started with Andy Love on guitar, Angela Naylor on vocals and Ken Patterson on multiple instruments.In early 74' they were joined by multi-instrumentalist/singer Simon Jaquet and bassist/guitarist Sam Wilson, while at the end of the year they added Jim Bisset on guitars/vocals.Jaquet leaves in 1975 for France due to his course and he is replaced for a short time by Alan Torrance.Upon his return Caedmon's live activity becomes more intense and in 1978 the band (without Love, who had quit) records a self-titled album at the small Barclay Towers Studio in Edinburgh to celebrate the five years of existence.A rare private album, this one was pressed in about 500 copies and was sold at the Farewell Concert in George Square, Edinburgh in March 78'.

While not overly progressive, Caedmon were definitely more convincing and intricate than many well-known British Folk Rock groups, playing some elaborate, rural music with certain electric explosions and Christian-inspired lyrics.Moreover their sound was pretty rich with intricate acoustic instrumentals, mostly based on violin, cello and mandolin, combining the depth of strings instruments with the more modern sound of keyboards (propably piano and harsichord).Naylor's angelic voice is on par with ANNIE HASLAM's, offering dreamy and clean performances.Of course there are moments when the band passes through more psychedelic paths with light electric tunes, laid-back acoustic guitars and sensitive, lyrical passages.On the other hand though Caedmon moved a bit further from the Classic Folk acts of the British scene, introducing a balanced electric guitar, which produces some emotional solos with even some jazzy taste at moments, which made their style even more flexible, especially in the more dense tracks, which featured the ethereal sound of keyboards.Some of the lyrics do sound a bit cheesy if you are not deep into the Christian spirit, but the music deserves some praise for being quite elaborate with its slight progressive vibes, more particularly in the instrumental themes, which consist of some good acoustic and electric interplays.

Caedmon disbanded the same year, but a surprising comeback in 2008 led to a second album in 2010, ''A chicken to hug'', featuring all members of the first album except for Angela Naylor.

Smooth Psych/Folk Rock with occasional proggy textures.Impressive vocals, airy soundscapes but also some pretty nice instrumental ideas.Recommended, a CD reissue is already available.

 A Chicken To Hug by CAEDMON album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.08 | 3 ratings

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A Chicken To Hug
Caedmon Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Caedmon returns to the scene again with their second album, many years after their first album. Actually, that album was released back in 1978. I refer to the interview with the band for further informations.

I do not have their first album so I cannot comment on the musical development between the first and the second album. I have noticed the difference between the fashion styles and hair lenghts between these two albums. See photos in the interview.

Well, back to the music. Caedmon is in fine folk rock form on A Chicken To Hug. Folk rock based on male and female vocals, bass, tangents, drums and guitars. Nothing fancy. Just the band and some good tunes. The vocals are great and so is the other instruments.

The songs are very much in the old English and even the US west coast tradition. That means folk rock with prog and pop influences. But most of all; vocals driven folk rock. There is not many fancy solos here. Besides of a couple of good electric guitar and Hammond solos, that is.

The album trundles along nicely without ever reaching the dizzy heights of greatness. As per usual, the lack of some really killer tracks is my main gripe. But the many prog folk fans here should check out Caedmon on both this album and on stage.

Good, but not all the way to the top of Ben Nevis.

3 stars

 Caedmon by CAEDMON album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.49 | 16 ratings

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Caedmon
Caedmon Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars The most interesting thing about this album is that the band recorded it to commemorate their five-plus year career as that career came to a close. Caedmon put together this self-produced, private label album in 1978 just prior to their last concert and sold it to fans and friends at that show, performed at George’s Square in Edinburgh. The band’s first show was also in Edinburgh, where the then-trio were all enrolled at the University as veterinary students.

The music on this album doesn’t really conform to any particular genre or even style, and later interviews and statements from the band acknowledge that they were primarily interested in experimenting in the studio and tried many different things. The songs were recorded on a four-track machine, pretty much live with a minor bit of overdubbing that is fairly apparent since the mixing job was austere to say the least.

The opening track is not a proper introduction to the band’s capabilities, and if one were to stop with that song they would have the mistaken impression that this was just another UK folk band with a faux medieval sound and predominantly acoustic instrumentation. Keyboardist Ken Patterson also employs a Crumar Compac with what sounds like the harpsichord setting most of the time, but also as a substitute piano. This describes that first track, but the musicians quickly branch out into more interesting territory, although I can’t say any of the subsequent songs stray too far, and none of the remaining songs stray too far from what are pretty variants of folk music.

“Maker Man” features an Ibanez acoustic guitar with a very fat and rich sound, as well as bongos for a very rhythmic tempo that is augmented by electric guitar and pleasant vocals from Angela Naylor backed by a couple of the male musicians. This song takes an interesting turn at the end when the band breaks into a salsa groove with a spoon and teacup providing the Latin shaker sound. Again, the players were clearly just goofing around and trying different things with apparently little concern over how the final product would be received.

One of the songs with cello is “Death of a Fox”, which also features both acoustic and electric guitar as well as bass. I should mention at this point that the band had no drum kit, that function being performed instead by bongos, bass and assorted hand percussion instruments (most of them uncredited in the liner notes).

The Crumer is switched to piano mode for “Sea Song”, and the guitar here reminds me very much of Robert Everett’s guitar ruffs on “Puppet City” of his band The Third Estate’s ‘Years Before the Wine’ album, which was another one-off vanity recording by some college students moonlighting as musicians, in their case in the New Orleans area of the U.S. “Aslam” similarly sounds like the Third Estate album, but with cello again and what sounds like a mandolin.

“Beyond the Second Mile” is a soft acoustic song that was intended for the original vinyl album, but was instead included on a 7” single that was packaged with the album since it and “Give Me (Jesus)” wouldn’t fit on the 12” 33rpm disc. Both of these are overtly religious songs very much in the vein of the hippy- tinged Jesus freak vein of the mid-seventies. “Give Me (Jesus)” will remind those who remember it of the early seventies Jesus freak anthem “Get High on Jesus” from Earthen Vessel, an even better version of which was recorded by the U.S. Apple Corps around the same time as this Caedmon album.

The band tries their hand at a sort-of Latin sound again on “Living in the Sunshine”, but with peppy vocals, choppy electric guitar and bongos in place of the teacup this time. Not really a very strong composition, but sounds like they had fun making it at least.

“Storm” is one of the longest songs at more than six minutes, but much of this is clearly improvised guitar and bongo noodling with some experimentation from a Fender Rhodes the band borrowed for these recording sessions. Again, nothing special except probably for the guys who recorded it; while “Columbas' Song” is sort of a medieval-like story-song but with a hopped up guitar track and more cello, this time a lot more lively than on “Death of a Fox”. This one and “Smile on Your Face” are the best representations of the Fairport Convention influence on the band.

“Caedmon's Hymn” is the most interesting song on the album, as it is a modern-day interpretation of a seventh-century religious song written by the band’s namesake Cdmon, an Anglo-Saxon poet-monk, and which is considered one of the oldest surviving examples of Anglo poetry. This rendition is quiet, reverent, and all acoustic with some recorder thrown in to further enhance its ancient and dated sound.

I don’t typically get into overtly religious contemporary music, but in the case of guys like Caedmon, Pentangle, Water into Wine Band and the like I think exceptions have to be made since these were all people who were simply spreading the message of their faith through the medium they best knew without being heavy-handed or overly-proselytizing. Kind of hard to get annoyed at that – better just to kick back and enjoy the tunes.

This is a marginal progressive album at best, but the band’s history and the enthusiasm they displayed in making these songs is rather infectious for those of us who are into rediscovering this sort of music decades after it was forgotten. The Kissing Spell reissue is well-produced considering the likely quality of masters they had to work with. For prog folk fans this will be a fun discovery, and well worth adding to their collection. Four stars for innovation, nave sincerity, and fifty-four minutes of low-key fun. Enjoy.

peace

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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