Sunday, December 4, 2016

Evensong - 1973 - Evensong


01. Dodos And Dinosaurs
02. I Was Her Cowboy
03. Store Of Time
04. Gypsy
05. Smallest Man In The World
06. Take Your Son To Church Mother
07. Borderline
08. Firefly
09. Rum Runner
10. Sweetbriar Road
11. Homemade Wine
12. Reaching Out For Someone
13. Wooden Wheels
14. Tell Me A Story
15. Dance Dance Dance
16. Romeo

Tony Hulman - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Mike Lawson - guitar, keyboards, vocals

Ray Fenwick - guitar
B. J. Cole - steel guitar
Harbie Flowers - bass
Clem Cattini - drums

Evensong is a similar to the likes of Magna Carta or Strawbs mixed with American and Australian duo songwriter folk in a more British way and with more solo lead vocals, with one Christian song and with one theme inspiration on country folk. This is harmonious folk-pop for which their name Evensong, -which is an Anglican expression for evening prayer-, should describe the aspect of a pastoral softness in their music. One of the two musicians, the British born Michael Lawson had a first life in American rock'n roll touring and playing support acts for American bands and singers in Birmingham, like with a band called The Grasshoppers. After having played with few more bands like The Shanes, The D'Fenders, The N'Betweens and Varsity Rag when the last band split, Evensong was formed as a new inspiration and direction.
The first track immediately sets the tone strongly with a warm voice, acoustic pickings and a full orchestral lush sweetness (strings and clarinet arrangements) benefiting the song, not forgetting the harmony vocal accents finishing touch. This is the track closest to folk-pop acts Magna Carta and the likes. The uptempo humtump electric “I was her cowboy” shows the American interest, and is somewhat out of its place against the other tracks, it does places the songwriter with his logical step in the other direction. The slightly melancholic but strongly focused next song, “Store of Time” is accompanied by nothing else but acoustic guitar but has also a few electric slide accents. “Story Of Time” sounds more psychedelic with its tam tam percussion, its melancholic flute theme with triangle arrangements added to the dual vocals with guitar. The next beauty, “Smallest man in the world”, has again more orchestral harmonies, comparable to the opener, with the inclusion of some flute. The next Christian song has a beautiful Bert Jansch-like guitar arrangement, congas and some electric guitar. The singing reminds me a bit of Cat Stevens here. With more drumming and electric guitar this has similar pop/rock strength too, again with well focused songwriting. “Borderline” is again a strong song, with all the right musical harmonies and arrangements to make this work perfectly. With strong drumming accents and very classical baroque orchestrations this is just wonderful and need to be heard. “Rum Rummer” has a little more up tempo and strong harmony vocals and more orchestrations. The last track is a melancholic guitar led song.

Surprisingly six bonus tracks were added of which 3 were recorded in the studios around the same time, and two came from their off-LP 1973 single. “Home Made Wine” for instance is with similar harmony vocals and acoustic/electric guitars but is rockier. Also here the American influence and accent is more dominant. These tracks still fit, but direct often towards a more (American) East Coast feeling.

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