Dr. Strangely Strange - Heavy Petting (Irish Folkrock 1970)

Rabu, 23 Januari 2013

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Dr. Strangely Strange were an experimental Irish folk group, formed in Dublin in 1967 by Tim Booth (born 6 September 1943, County Kildare, Ireland), vocals and guitar, and Ivan Pawle (born 17 August 1943, England) bass and keyboards.

Booth and Pawle soon teamed with multi-instrumentalist Tim Goulding (born 15 May 1945, Hatch Street, Southside, Dublin), vocals and keyboards, at that time an aspiring painter, and percussionist/vocalist Caroline "Linus" Greville, and began living and rehearsing in a house owned by Goulding's girlfriend, backing vocalist "Orphan Annie" Mohan, which its tenants nicknamed "The Orphanage". The Orphanage became a springboard for a new generation of Irish rock, helping launch the careers of Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, Gary Moore and others. After signing with the Incredible String Band's producer and manager Joe Boyd, Dr. Strangely Strange debuted in 1969 with Kip of the Serenes. The album was produced by Boyd. While on tour with Fotheringay, they enlisted drummer Neil Hopwood, and later in the year appeared on the Incredible String Band's Changing Horses album.

After the 1970 album Heavy Petting, Dr. Strangely Strange began falling apart: Linus was asked to leave to cut down on touring costs after some early sessions for the record, Goulding left to enter to a Buddhist monastery, while Pawle and Booth teamed with Gay and Terry Woods for a brief tour. The group disbanded In May 1971, after playing a concert with Al Stewart at London's Drury Lane Theatre. They reunited in 1973 for an Irish tour, and briefly reconvened again in the early 1980s. During this time Goulding worked as a painter while Booth became an artist and made animated films. The band reformed with the original trio to record a third album in 1996.

On 10 January 2008, the band announced that they were to reform for a special homecoming gig to take place in the Sugar Club on Leeson Street, Dublin, Ireland on 1 March 2008. In February 2009, Hux Records reissued Kip of the Serenes as a Collectors' Edition with four bonus tracks.

On 19 July 2009 the band participated in the Witchseason Weekender (featuring artists from Joe Boyd's Witchseason production company) at The Barbican, London. They performed a free concert on the foyer stage and then participated in the full Sunday evening concert entitled The Music Of The Incredible String Band.[Wikipedia]

Among the usual gems unearthed from the 70's, DSS happens to come up and get cited quite often, but I find its status greatly exaggerated due to the Vertigo Swirl label appearance and the ultra bizarre gimmick Roger Dean artwork of their first album, Heavy Petting. This being their second album, and given the hopes that their debut KOTS had us wishing for, HP is certainly a bit of a deception. Keeping the original quintet intact, the group added as guest or members a bunch of musicians; the best-known being FC's Mattacks and his very sterile drumming style, an ultra-young Gary Moore on guitar and two Sweeney's men members. The end result is rendering the general musical direction completely directionless, which is rather strange because now-legend producer Joe Boyd wasn't missing many records that were to become masterpieces. 

Most fans of this album will describe the music as bonkers, mad, bizarre and inventive, but I will use directionless, lacking fire and drive, amateurish and involuntarily cacophonous and certainly not mad in the Comus or JDDG style. In terms of folk, they would approach the more "Barochial" song-based Amazing Blondel and be a less-impressive ISB, but lacking the latter's zaniness or maybe trying too hard to match it. 

It's not to say that things are completely offbeat, but the few things progheads like good interplay, virtuosity and complex rhythms or arrangements are just not really met to our fills/needs. What I mean is that the prog junkie will not get his kicks from this fix. Clearly the better tracks on the album are the longer ones and the 8-mins Sign On My Mind (closing side 1) is the album's cornerstone, but the flipside's opener, the 6-mins Gave My Love An Apple as it develops into a boogie after a rocky roll-out- barrels barroom song. But it's definitely too little & too few for real proghead interest. As for the folk side of things, it is average with a very pleasant flute, mandolin/bouzouki and harmonium/organ, but it never drives you out of your mind. 

In some ways, one thinks that DSS actually could've come close to an essential piece of folk, had they not messed up on patchy moments and disputable chaotic ideas; they had it half right, but completely missed out on the second half. Half ISB, half AB, DSS made two half-fine albums since this was already the case with their previous effort.. [progarchives.com]

01. Ballad of the Wasps (3:22)
02. Summer Breeze (3:35)
03. Kilmanoyadd Stomp (2:41)
04. I Will Lift up my Eyes (1:50)
05. Sign on my Mind (8:19)
06. Gave my Love an Apple (6:05)
07. Jove Was at Home (2:30)
08. When Adam Delved (2:10)
09. Ashling (4:40)
10. Mary Malone of Moscow (3:52)
11. Goodnight my Friends (1:12)

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