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Ithaca - A Game for All Who Know  CD (album) cover

A GAME FOR ALL WHO KNOW

Ithaca

 

Prog Folk

2.66 | 23 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is the same folk trio that released an album in 1970 under the name Agincourt, and while the instrumentation on that album is quite similar to this one, the lyrical theme here is much more cohesive. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is a concept album but the overall concept is a bit too abstract for me to grasp fully.

Various combinations of the three musicians also produced albums under the names and Tomorrow Comes Someday and Alice Through the Looking Glass which based on the titles would seem to be along the same lines as this one and the Agincourt record; unfortunately both of those were issued in small quantities and I’ve not had a chance to hear either of them.

The folk roots are apparent throughout, although there is a fair amount of psych electric guitar, which isn’t all that surprising considering the times in which it was created. The wafting strains of a recorder enhance the folk feeling and one Andrew Lowcock guests as the featured flautist on “Questions”. Not sure who he is/was, and the only other musical credit I can find for him was as a house musician in a 1974 Wilmslow Green House Society stage rendition of a Shakespeare play. I think it’s fair to say none of the artist here went on to fame or fortune, at least not as musicians.

Although there are only six tracks here, each is subtitled with several subsections. “Journey” for example is split into “Destruction”, “Rebirth” and “Patterns of Life”, while “Times” is broken up as “Seven Seasons”, “The Path” and “Given Time”. “The Path” has a surprisingly upbeat pop feel to it, relatively speaking. It reminds me of a number of soft rock/pop female-fronted bands of the eighties like Katrina & the Waves or an audible-range version of Altered Images. This one is an aberration though, as most of the album is well-entrenched in early seventies west-coast pop and suburban psychedelia.

The standout is clearly the title track, complete with mandolin, recorder, piano and organ riffs, acoustic and electric guitar in a sort of harmonized complement, and a flamenco-inspired acoustic guitar courtesy of another unknown artist (Robert Ferdinando). This song takes the tone of a common style found even in a lot of pop albums of the early seventies where the artists closed what amounted to a light rock album with a lengthy and progressive (more commonly referred to as art-rock then) magnum opus. This one also featured mellotron with strings (and possibly some flutes). Not a bad tune, but certainly the exception on the album and not the rule.

My biggest complaint with the album is the rather poor recording quality and virtually non-existent production engineering. The record sounds like it was recorded on amateur equipment, and indeed I’ve read Peter Howell recorded some of his work on a reel-to-reel player so that might account for the dubious quality.

This is a rather forgettable album all things considered, although it is not really what I would call bad or anything. The title track would rate a high three stars on its own, and the three-part “Times” is also fairly well done. But in the end I’ll go with a low three stars, just above 2.5 really. Mildly recommended to prog folk fans who prefer the folk to the prog.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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