Saturday, 9 July 2011

Heron - Upon Reflection, the Dawn Anthology

Those of you who follow me on twitter (@dakota_boo) will be aware that I've just tracked down an album by Heron. Heron have been on my wants list for a while now, having been inspired reading about them in the wonderful Electric Eden book. I had hoped to find an album on my recent record shopping trip in London but was delighted to find a double CD set with both their albums, singles and some unreleased material - a mighty 43 tracks in all, on a compilation called Upon Reflection, the Dawn Anthology. The comprehensive notes are a great point of reference, providing details about the recordings where the band shunned convention and recorded both albums outside rather than in a studio.
I listened to the album from track 1 right through to track 43, and was struck by the enormous contrast of material, some brilliant, some less so. I'm enjoying the tracks from their 1970, self-titled debut album. Car Crash is particularly good, closely followed by Yellow Roses, but must admit that some of the tracks on their second album, Twice as Nice and Half the Price, don't particularly resonate with me ... in particular their cover of This Old Heart of Mine seems very out of place.

Overall though, an enjoyable listen, and with 43 tracks for probably less than a tenner it's worth buying for the first disc alone.


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

My top 10 musical (re)discoveries - 6 months into 2011

For me, 2011 has already been a great year for discovering/rediscovering music. Thought I'd share a list of my favourite musical (re)discoveries ... and as the more observant of you will notice there are in fact 12, and not 10. To be honest I could probably have listed more but decided to restrict myself to a single album by each artist. The UK and US links after each album take you to or respectively where these fantastic albums are available, usually at bargain prices and also many with bonus tracks.

Incredible String Band - The 5000 Spirits  UK / US
Pentangle - Basket of Light  UK / US
Bridget St. John - Songs For the Gentle Man  UK / US
Bert Jansch - It Don't Bother Me  UK / US
Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man  UK / US
Captain Beefheart - Safe As Milk  UK / US
Trees - The Garden of Jane Delawney  UK / US
John Renbourn - Another Monday  UK / US
Mr Fox - Join Us In Our Game  UK / US
The Holy Modal Rounders - 1 and 2  UK / US
Tom Rapp - Sunforest  UK / US
Fairport Convention - Unhalfbrickling  UK / US

No question about it ... there's a definite folk/acid folk theme going on here and the majority of these great albums were brought to my attention by 2 excellent books, Electric Eden by Rob Young, and Seasons They Change by Jeanette Leech.