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BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Bread Love And Dreams biography
Another acid-folk act coming from Scotland, this time Edinburgh, BREAD LOVE AND DREAM was a trio lead by Glaswegian David McNiven, joining in with a two-women act: Carolyn Davis on guitar and Angie Rew on flute and lead vocals. They toured around Scotland for a while and started a loyal local following, but they sounded much influenced by another Scot act THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, which was not surprising since they ruled acid folk and it was not the first band inspired by ISB: indeed the Irish Dr STRANGELY STRANGE sounds much like BL&D.

Spotted by Decca staff Ray Horricks at the Edinburgh Festival in 68, they were brought down to London by him to record their first album and it was released in early 69. This self-titled album contained some acid folk with some string arrangements, but the market being flooded by such albums, it sold poorly, enticing guitarist Carolyn Davis to quit.

Decca wanted to cut the band from its roster, but Horricks held good and the group was grudgingly allowed a second chance. Aware of this BL&D first went on the road (sharing stages with MAGNA CARTA and TYRANOSAURUS REX) and wrote new material for their upcoming album. It was during this time that BL&D developed a working project with the Traverse Theatre Group in Edinburgh. Their director Max Stafford wanted McNiven to adapt one of his pieces Mother Earth to the stage actors. It eventually became Amaryllis, given a twist of name. This piece was then performed in Edinburgh, then London, than on a European tour (Scandinavia, Benelux, France & Spain) to apparently great acclaim.

Although reassured of their recent successes, but still not well with Decca, BL&D recorded over 5 days in the summer of 70 two albums' worth of material with a bunch of added guests (including THE PENTANGLE's bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox); they even considered releasing a double album (ala ISB's Wee Tam & The Big Huge), but Decca decided against it. Strange Tales Of Captain Shannon was therefore released fall of 70 to critical acclaim, and it contained the lengthy title track that was again in the ISB mould. As their second album failed to sell, Decca quickly released (botched-up marketing and too few copies pressed) in early 71, Amaryllis, which is arguably their best works, but it fail to sell, or even match the sales of the preceding two albums. Although both albums came out with superb sleeves, it was not enough for the public to invest in a second version of...
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BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS discography


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BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.78 | 11 ratings
Bread Love and Dreams
1969
3.07 | 13 ratings
Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha
1970
3.33 | 13 ratings
Amaryllis
1971

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BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Amaryllis by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.33 | 13 ratings

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Amaryllis
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Bread Love and Dreams third (and last) CD was recorded together with their second (it was supposed to be a double album, but the recording company vetoed that idea), and released a few months after that one. However, it is quite different and it is also their best. Not that I think it is a masterpiece of sorts. It is very nice, ok, it has some good moments, but really, this band is not an obscure outfit from the 70īs for nothing. Their sound is quite common place and it came a little too late to catch the last musical fashion of its day. I guess they would be a lot more known if they had appeared in the mid 60īs. Also I really donīt understand those comparisons to The Incredible String Band, except fro the fact that they are both scotish. I see nothing of their spaced out, freakish acid folk on Bread Love and Dreams. BLD was a much more average folk rock essemble.

But to the album itself: nice stuff. The 21 minute epic title track is obviously regarded as the highlight here and it is interesting, although I see it more as 3 distinctive tracks put together than as a whole piece. It has its moments though and the final part has some very good vocal harmnies between David McNiven and Angie Rew. Besides, the band gets quite a kick from The Pentagleīs rhtyhm section fo Danny Thompson (acoustic bass) and Terry Cox (drums). Both do enhance a lot Mcniven and Rewīs stuff (Thompson in particular is in fine form). Alan Trajanīs keyboards work however is seldom heard here. Personally I liked side two better. It does have a nice selection of independent short songs. Not surprisingly they remind me of a less elaborated version of The Pentangle. The first three songs are among their best ever. Production is excellent: my CD has a very clean sound.

Conclusion: Although I canīt cite Bread Love And Dreams as one of my top ten favorite prog folk bands, I liked this album. They might not have brought anything new to the folk scene, and they may have come a little too late, but their work is worth checking out for those who, like me, like some nice, melodic and well performed folk rock . Rating: 3 stars. Good, but non-essential.

 Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.07 | 13 ratings

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Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Bread Love and Dreams second efford is quite a big improvement over their debut the year before. In fact, this now scotish duo (guitarrist Carolyn Davis had left after their first album) was quite on a roll and they recorded enough material for a intended double album. The recording disagreed and instead released two single Lps, this one and their final one Amaryllis some months after it. Neither would sell much leading to the band being sacked from their label and eventually breaking up not too long after that.

When I got the CD reissued I thought it might be a concept album of sorts, but it isnīt. The title just refers to the story told through the recordīs last (and, at a little over 6 minutes, the longest) track. And it is surely one of the albumīs highlight. This time they did a much better instrumental job recruiting real fine musicians to back them, including The Pentangle rhythm section of Danny Thompson on acoustic bass and Terry Cox on drums. Besides, I have to say that David McNiven and Angie Rew are quite good singers. The repertoire is good, but is a bit uneven, with some weak songs among other good ones like Masquerade and Hymn for Sylvia. Production is very good. The cover is another great work.

It seemed their recording company did almost nothing to promote them. However, it is doubtful Bread Love and Dreams could go very far with their sound: They were good, ok, but not outstanding in any way. And with very outstanding groups like Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, The Pentangle and several others, not many people were interested. And they did not have enough convincing songs to face such competition. But to be fair, I can say they did have their charm. And if you like british folk rock of the late 60īs youīll probably like this one. Rating: 2.5 stars that Iīll round to three because they did evolve.

 Bread Love and Dreams by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.78 | 11 ratings

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Bread Love and Dreams
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Nice Folk album. I liked the bandīs name and it made me curious about this obscure band from the late 60īs/early 70īs. Their debut is a very simple affair, with nothing really prog on it. Mostly acoutisc guitars, nice vocal harmonies, some strings, a little flute here and a little harmonica there. Although in their biography here on PA The Incredible String Band is cited as a major influence, I see nothing like that here. It reminds more of other folk groups in the vein of early Strawbs, Fairport Convention and The Pentangle, with a much simpler sound, of course.

Itīs easy to understand why this album failed to chart: there were just too many artists doing the same thing at the time, or earlier. The tracklist is ok too: some traditional stuff, some original ones, some funny lyrics about drinking (the opener Switch Out The Sun is a good exemple), other more whimsical (The Yellow-Bellied Redback ) and the almost obligatory dylan like stuff (Virgin Kiss) and blues tune (95 Octane Gravy). All done with efficient, but very basic accompaniment. Production is very clear and good.

Conclusion: a nice record, even if it adds nothing to the style. No prog in here. Iīm looking forward to hear their next releases to see if they did improve. If you like obscure 60īs folk stuff, this is a CD worth listening to. But for a prog site I can only give it 2 stars. Collectors, completionists and fans only.

 Bread Love and Dreams by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.78 | 11 ratings

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Bread Love and Dreams
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars As a folk album it's perfect. Well, maybe except few songs. But I find myself quite a confused and I'm wondering how to rate album which sounds not much like prog

Songs flows slowly, I must say that I quite like folk music recently (I wonder why), but only unusual thing here is bass guitar (used for few tones) and maybe strings. Fact is that I'm not prog folk expert, nor any other genre expert, so my knowledge is not as good as it could be, so I have to use just my ears. And they're big ears (I hope it doesn't sound funny).

Songs are average by my opinion, not some of these 3.5 stars (with 3-rating), but fully deserves middle mark. I like "Switch Out the Sun" which indeed is funny one about results of excessive drinking and hangover. "Until She Needs You" part 0:39-0:44 was used in many country/folk songs. It's well known one, but fits perfectly here. "Yellow Belly" is rather strange, but listenable, instead of last song about some recipe. Maybe I didn't get it at all, but except nice Dylanisque music it's good part is just first 2/3.

Listenable, but not so prog rock. But it's prog folk, so it's not so important Still I quite like and will listen from time to time.

EDIT: And I do, I like it a lot. Funny thing is that it reminds me my first experience with alcohol (before I started to drink Pilsen beer, which relieves you from any kind of hangovers. They simply aren't here), but even funnier thing is that I like one particular second in this song. It's in interval 00:00-00:05, the first time where bass guitar player puts his finger on strings. This exact tone is unique.

3(-), wild endings, at first I hated them, then never-minded them, now I like them. Funny cycle, as a lot of things about this album.

 Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.07 | 13 ratings

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Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Bread Love & Dreams recorded ‘The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha’ at the same time as their final record ‘Amaryllis’ in 1970, originally planning to release them as a double album. Like ‘Amaryllis’, ‘Strange Tale..’ has the outward appearance of being a concept album, but isn’t. Also, with the exception of former bandmate Carolyn Davis' appearance on “Purple Haze Melancholy” here, both albums feature the same lineup of remaining members Angela Rew and David McNiven, along with the Pentangle mates Terry Cox and Danny Thompson, and finally the late Allan Trajan on keyboards.

Beyond those similarities there are some distinct differences between the albums, beginning with that Carolyn Davis tune “Purple Hazy Melancholy”, a haunting and appropriately named, mellow-yet-tense folk hymn with lazily strummed acoustic guitar, imperceptible bass and a keyboard-driven orchestral-like arrangement. Coming in the middle of the album, this one makes for an abrupt and somber mood shift sandwiched between the more fluid “Butterflyland” and “Sing Me a Song”, both with harmonized vocals from Rew and McNiven along with a playful tempo and stilting organ bleats courtesy the understated Trajan. The album also opens with an almost beat-folk sounding tune in “Hymn for Sylvia”, and closes with the traveling-bard title track, so in that respect there is more variety than on either of their other two studio releases.

One thing about this album, and with acid folk music like it from the same period, is that the sense of wandering, travel and discovery is thick in both the lyrics and the innocent openness of the music itself. In the modern world of high fuel prices, recession and regional strife the idea of traveling via thumb and backpack around the world to meet fellow travelers and see what’s around the bend to discover is something that seems a world away. For folk artists like these guys it was a way of life, and the easy gait and generally positive attitude in their music reflect a simpler and more visceral life experience than what many of us experience today. After a stressful and unrewarding week this is just the sort of record that fits with a fading sunset, a gentle breeze and the warmth of the latter strands of summer.

Timing is everything I suppose; I first heard this album about a year ago during the winter and it had a completely different effect on me. It seemed dated, trite and a little bland. Time and temperament seem to have changed that – today this feels like the perfect soundtrack to the approaching evening.

Bread Love & Dreams were never much of a memorable band, and their albums would be totally unavailable were they not reissued on CD several years ago. And despite my current benevolent mood, this album doesn’t deserve to be hailed a masterpiece by any means. But the guitar playing has an easy gait, Rew and McNiven have voices that blend comfortably, and Allan Trajan has a way with keyboards that fits folk music quite well (when he decides to join in, at least). An easy three stars for ‘Strange Tale…’, and landing somewhere between the band’s debut and the more well-known ‘Amaryllis’, which by coincidence is exactly the order in which it was released. Enjoy it if you come across it.

peace

 Amaryllis by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.33 | 13 ratings

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Amaryllis
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Bread Love & Dreams recorded their most memorable album ‘Amaryllis’ for Decca at the same time they put together ‘Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha’, and with the same lineup that included Danny Thompson and Terry Cox of the Pentangle, but without the lovely voice of Carolyn Davis who had left after the group’s debut release. The late Allan Trajan also appears on keyboards, bur frankly his contributions pale in comparison to the depth and breadth Thompson and Cox bring to the band; were it not for Angela Rew’s vocal harmonies (limited in range but rich in tone), this could pass for a cheap knockoff of the Incredible String Band or even a folksier version of the Pentangle itself.

Clearly the highlight of the record is the sidelong title track, the three parts of the tale separated not only by lyrics but style as well. The opening “Out of the Darkness into the Light” will please fans of acoustic, heavily instrumental folk, while the middle “Zoroaster's Prophecy” covers a variety of tones and styles including a few the music could have done without (Jew’s harp, an awkward percussive section that fades out abruptly). The closing stanza “Light” puts forth the best of the duo McNiven and Rew – delicate harmonizing vocals, gentle acoustic guitar fingering and naïve acid folk lyrics. The length and ambition of this opus deserve acknowledgement, but I for one would have been just as happy had “Zoroaster's Prophecy” been separated or left out altogether.

The back side of the record features four unrelated singles, each just as unsophisticated, clear and undiluted as anything on the band’s debut album. Rew and McNiven dominate on all these, and Trajan comes out of his shell a bit, especially on the sad and bucolic song of love and loss “Time’s the Thief”.

“My Stair-Cupboard at 3 A.M.” could just as easily been released in 1973 or even 1974, an almost West Coast pop folk tune with an easy gait and only about as deep as roots in the desert. I wonder if the group was looking for radio play with this one.

Rew offers up the almost completely acoustic “Brother John” on which McNiven takes up the backing vocal role, and the album closes with McNiven’s “Circle of Night” that threatens to break out in a vocal round at any moment (but never actually does).

I don’t really know the whole story of this band, but I know they didn’t last much past this record’s recording; in fact, I’m not even sure they still existed by the time it released in mid 1971. But at least they left a legacy of decent, if not essential acid folk. One of the b-league folk groups of the early seventies, Bread Love & Dreams nevertheless is a band worth hearing if you have any interest in this genre. Three stars solid, but definitely not four. Recommended, especially if you can find the Sunbeam CD reissue at a decent price.

peace

 Bread Love and Dreams by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.78 | 11 ratings

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Bread Love and Dreams
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars The first Bread Love & Dreams album, much like the band’s brief career, is a study in glimpses of unfulfilled promise and underappreciated talent. It would be followed up with the more eclectic and ambitious duo of records ‘Amaryllis’ and ‘The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha’. The former explored the ‘acid’ side of acid folk more fully then the debut; and the latter employed a broader array of guest musicians including Carolyn Davis, who departed the band after the first album. Both albums (originally intended to be a double-disc release) would be the more memorable contributions the group gave to progressive folk music, with their self-titled debut relegated to back shelves for years before being quietly reissued on the dubious Hugo-Montes Productions label in 2001.

But in some ways this opening exhibits charms that draw belated fans like me to acid folk, more so than their more well-known works. This one is rather sparse despite having both Angie Rew and Carolyn Davis to accompany multi-instrumentalist David McNiven on the abundant vocals that fill every track. The latter two albums featured only Rew and McNiven for the most part, with more emphasis on varied instrumental arrangements and psych-leaning lyrics as opposed to rich vocal harmonies. The band also doesn’t seem to be taking themselves all that seriously on this record, with songs like the hangover anthem “Switch out the Sun” and the somewhat silly “The Yellow-Bellied Redback” showing a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor on the band’s part.

At times the trio doesn’t stray far from what most would consider traditional folk, particularly in the middle of the album with the laconic “Lady of the Night”, the almost too-staid “Falling Over Backwards” and the slightly self-indulgent ballad “Poet's Song”. But elsewhere there are little flashes of creativity. “Main Street” layers backing vocals from both ladies with harmonica and an upbeat tempo for what is probably the liveliest song on the album. McNiven lapses into ballad-like vocals and acoustic guitar- strumming on “Mirrors”, but here again the vocal harmonies are quite beautiful and the string arrangements and other keyboard flourishes make for a charming vignette.

This isn’t a very memorable album, but it is certainly good enough to merit a proper reissue on some prog-friendly label at some point. Bread Love and Dreams were clearly heavily influenced by the Incredible String Band, and although they began their brief career in a similar vein, the duo of McNiven and Rew would never reach the level of creativity or establish the following that kept ISB going for so long. Too bad. Three stars (but just barely) for this record, with a mild recommendation for serious prog and acid folk fans if you can find it. The Hugo-Montes CD is the only reissue I’m aware of, and doesn’t include any bonus material or anything else to enhance interest, but like I said – hopefully someone, someday will give this a proper re-release with handling appropriate to its place in prog folk history.

peace

 Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.07 | 13 ratings

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Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars This is their second album released, but it was recorded at the same time as Amaryllis, as the original idea was to release a double album as their idols Incredible String Band had with WEE Tam & The Big Huge. But there was no way that their label would as they simply didn't believe in this group, only producer Horrick forcing the three albums deal to conclude. Now reduced to a duo, it's difficult not to keep comparing them to ISB. Graced with a superb psych and fantasy artwork, but also labelled with one of those unlikely lengthy name, Capt Shannon & Hunchback From Gigha is a selection of the double sessions, but does not carry better or more commercial tracks, although there are a few potential winners for attention. With the Pentangle's Danny Thompson and Tony Cox on the rhythm section, Tales is an excellent example of acid folk rock.

Past the expandable Dylan-esque opener, the album's real start is on the magnificent and upbeat Masquerade, where McNiven vocals get superb echoes from Rew's rebuttals. Excellent, tense, and the Pentangle members are on top of their games. Cigarette of course pales in comparison and if He Who Knows All build promises, Lobster Quadrille fails to capitalize and drive the opening side home. The flipside starts on a short Angie Rew monologue, but if Butterfly Land takes you to exotic isles, it is former member Carolyn Davis' last remaining track Purple Haze Melancholy that draws attention because she's backed with a bunch of distant horns, but it fails to materialize into something potent. The title is clearly the album's second highlight (but not better than Masquerade) with its 7 minutes, it is a delicate song filled with added instruments and closing with footstep on the beach.

It's hard to tell you who was right about the double album issue, but releasing them as one would've probably meant to sacrifice one of the two superb artworks, and most likely it would've been maybe a little long a listen in one shot. So most likely the label knew their job best: even though they did nothing to promote BL&D, it's also not that hard to see why they didn't really believe in them. Too derivative (of ISB and DSS), and drowned in a sea of folk rock that was a full block ahead of them (folk was now electrified ala Fairport or Trees), but they were simply too naïve for 1970 & 71. Whether this or Amaryllis is your call, because for me, they're fairly equal, but here Masquerade is their best shot.

 Amaryllis by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.33 | 13 ratings

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Amaryllis
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by progbaby

5 stars What can I say. I love this band ever since a friend exposed me to this band 10 years ago. I must have heard the 20+ minute title track to this album over 1000 times in the last 10 years and I never get tired of it. The album toys with emotions of joy, sadness, melancholy, fear and even has a sense of humor. The lyrics are wonder and can leave many with their own perception of what many of the songs are all about (I'm still trying to figure out what the lyrics of Amaryllis are all about after 10 years and lovin' every minute of the mystery). Etheral/pastoral vocals from both female/male, wonderful harmonies and unforgettable melodies up and down the album.

And if that is not enough, we are graced by Danny Thompson's (of Pentangle) hypnotic double-bass and Tony Cox (of Pentangle) on drums.

For me, it does not get any better than this. Sure I love bands like King Crimson, the italian prog acts, germany's finest, yes, etc... But with all of those bands, it's Bread/Love and Dreams that holds a special place with me.

Others may not be all that excited with this band but they strike a chord (and such a good chord with me).

The last 4-5 minutes of the title track is pure heaven with the organ (they just don't make it sound like that anymore. Even if it's dated, I love it more and more compared to the digital stuff they play today), etheral vocal harmonies, poetic lyrics and a fade off so appropriate that it begs for a replay.

This is just one of those albums I consider an acid-folk masterpiece. Mark Fry's "Dreaming with Alice", Roger Rodier's album and Montreal's "A summer night", the Justin album and the Nick Drake albums are on that list as well.

BLD = "Essential" for me. Check 'em out if you like Hippy psychadelic/flower folk with awesome melodies.

I wish this band would have made more albums. Guess they were dropped by the record label because their albums were not selling. Just proves to me that "quality music" and "sales success" are mutually exclusive. A lot of junk out their sells. A lot of quality out there is lost and forgotten. This is one such prime example.

If I could thank the members of this band personally for 3 great essential prog-folk masterpieces, I'd be honored. They deserve every last bit of thanks!!!

A classic to my ears!!!!

 Amaryllis by BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.33 | 13 ratings

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Amaryllis
Bread Love And Dreams Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Third album, but recorded at the same time as its predecessor, partially out of fear for not getting a third shot (some among Decca's executives were against BL&D), and the tought of making a double album (but this was simply to ISB copycat), Amaryllis came out a few months after their second, but benefiting from the guest musician (including Pentangle's Danny Thompson, whom acted as a full-time member), Amaryllis also benefiting from a splendid psychedelic artwork, even if quite different than its predecessor Captain Shanon.

Impressively starting out on the remarkable intro (2'20") of the sidelong title track's first movement, Out Of The Darkness, where Pentangle's Thompson and Cox work great wonders and the feeling becomes Spanish (almost Flamenco by the guitar) once the descending spiral is through, then McNiven's voice and usual ISB-like acid folk take over. The second movement the 10-mins+ Zoroaster's Prophecy starts rather well too, but its second section is hampered by a stupid idea: a Jewish harp should never be used elsewhere than solo on a cowboy campfire, but later on there is an excellent passage where McNiven and Rew work a bit like the Airplane's Balin and Slick. The closing third movement called Light is a bit dwarfed by the other two movement.

The flipside is made of four unrelated songs of which Rew's Brother John is easily the better track, even if the other three are of a honest ISB niveau errrrr... LB&D level.

Although a good acid folk album, Amaryllis suffers from the usual rare record syndrome (it was with Leafhound's sole album the smallest amount of record pressed - or distributed before destroyed - by a major company), it contaminated of the Quality Ultra Rare Exaggeration Vinyl Syndrome (sounds painful, right??), but thankfully to the Cd's existence, this is only in rare occasions harmful to the wallet as it once was during vinyl-only days. I wouldn't call anything by BL&D anywhere close to essential (especially if we're talking about progressive folk), but if you're a fan of the acid-folk genre, no doubt this will take on more interest.

Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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