Monday, November 9, 2015

Blonde On Blonde - 1971 - Reflections On A Life

Blonde On Blonde 
Reflections On A Life

01. Gene Machine
02. I Don't Care
03. Love Song
04. Bar Room
05. Sad Song For An Easy Lady
06. Ain't It Sad Too
07. The Bargain
08. The Rut
09. Happy Families
10.No. 2 Psychological Decontamination Unit
11.Chorale (Forever)

Graham Davies -  Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
Gareth Johnson - Lead Guitar
Les Hicks - Percussion
Dave Thomas - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Harmonica

There was something very special about being able to live a life split between two worlds, one quiet and countrified, and the other - on the road or in the heart of London's nightlife!

I think you can hear that contrast in the music itself: a mixture of focused energy and laid-back calm. It was a reflection of the way we lived and worked. We all came from a heavily industrialised Welsh seaport that was closely surrounded by mountains and wild romantic countryside; it was the contrast that inspired us.

And it still inspires me. I am about to release a new Blonde On Blonde album. The music's already 'in the can' and includes songs from Blonde On Blonde's live performances that were not previously released. It also includes some very recent material. The new album is called "Coldharbour" (another name for my hometown Newport). It was hearing "Rebirth" again that brought me determination to complete the project.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the sounds of 1970 so faithfully captured here on this reissued CD. When I listened to it again, it was like taking a ride in a time capsule in my own head. The sound and the memories are crystal clear.
by David Thomas



  2. Recorded in October 1971's "Reflections On A Life" album (Ember NR 5058) at Monmouth's Rockfield Studios though the lack of commercial success finally took its toll on the band and they went their separate ways soon after the LP's release.
    "Reflections On a Life" was recorded in the wake of another personnel shakeup that saw original guitarist Richard/John Hopkins replaced by singer/multi-instrumentalist Graham Davies. With drummer Les Hicks and guitarist Gareth Johnson sharing production responsibilities, the result was the band's most conventional, commercial and to some extent pedestrian release. With a couple of exceptions (notably the rather disconcerting 'Happy Families' and the 'Revolution Number 9'-styled sound collage 'No.2 Psychological Decontamination Unit'), the band's earlier progressive moves were largely absent from their third set. That said, the collection certainly started out with a bang. Complete with crying babies, backward tapes, bizarre sound effects and ominous vocal treatments, the Gareth Johnson penned 'Gene Machine' was easily the wildest thing the band ever recorded. From there on it was far less experimental and less interesting (though side two's 'The Rut' continued the psych mood). With Johnson, Dave Thomas and Graham Davies splitting songwriting chores tracks like 'Love Song' and 'Bar Room Blues' found the band exploring a modest country/folk-rock orientation, while 'I Don't Care' and 'The Bargain' pursued a surprisingly conventional AOR sound. The performances were never less than sterling and the band excelled at injecting interesting touches throughout the collection (check out the Eastern influences that cropped up at the end of 'Ain't It Sad Too'), making the entire album worth hearing. In case anyone cared, propelled by a killer lead guitar 'Sad Song for An Easy Lady' and the pretty ballads 'The Bargain' (which I could swear I've heard elsewhere) and 'Chorale (Forever)' made for the album's standout performances.