BY TIM HINELY
You want an education in Baroque pop? Well, you’ve got it right here in 3-cds (in a lovely clam shell box set with an awesome, informative 40-page booklet that I’m only like a quarter of the way through). Lotsa music was churning through England during those late 60’s and early 70’s years. If you were the long-haired type your tastes may have been leaning more toward Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, but those more, shall we say, cerebral folks, their ears were pointed toward what George Martin and the Beatles were doing and hundreds more bands took the ball and ran with it. Bands that didn’t at all mind experimenting with instruments like harpsichords or oboes or flutes and let’s not forget the granddaddy of ‘em all, the French horn! Oh sure, you know about Donovan, The Zombies and The Move (who all have songs on disc three) but how about the likes of Fickle Pickle or The Factotums or The U-Know-Who (I swear I’m not making these names up). Oh and the Spencer Davis Group also show up on disc three as well. If you want to go chronologically check out disc one first and you’ll heart cuts by Genesis (yup), The Strawbs, Bert Jansch and The Honeybus (with the whimsical (“do I figure) In Your Life”). A few others on disc 1 that I heard for the first time include The Toast, The Matchmakers and Curved Air, just to name a few.
I have to admit, other than the big names (The Zombies, Donovan , etc) I was a latecomer to the whole baroque pop scene. What initially got me interested was the Cardinal record (released on Flydaddy in 1994) and I worked back from there listening to American bands like The Left Banke and Mortimer (who Cardinal covered on their record), so yeah, a lot of the stuff on here brand new to me despite some of it being 50 years old. The vocals soar as do the glistening melodies. Again, it’s a big spoonful here but if you’ve got time to lock yourself in your room for a few days you’ll come out a very educated person on the topic. We’ve all got time for that, right?
DOWNLOAD: Michael Blount- “Acorn Street,” The Honeybus- “(do I figure) In Your Life?”, The Searchers- “Popcorn, Double Features,” The Freshman- “She Sang Hymns Out of Tune”