This month's great lost acoustic opus, retrieved and re-mastered courtesy of David Tibet's Durtro imprint
Originally issued in 1970 on the innovative Mushroom label, this uncategorisable minor classic defies expectations at every turn. If it sounds at times like a promising young singer-songwriter wilfully subjecting his material to an experimentalist makeover from burgeoning avant-garders David Toop and Paul Burwell, well that’s precisely what it is.
Toop’s frantically hammered dulcimer and Ornette Coleman-esque violin intro to “Very Close Friend” might lull you into thinking that you’re about to hear psych-folk’s very own Free Jazz or Ascension (which would be no bad thing.) Instead, the song simply drifts in and out again, a wispy fragment that leaves no trace. Next up, the rambling narcoleptic drawl of “The Courtyard” is just one of several tracks that evoke what a Steve Took-led Tyrannosaurus Rex might have sounded like. Again, no bad thing. Nothing, though, prepares you for the standout track, “Jerusalem”, which provides the missing evolutionary link between Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction” and Nick Cave in best biblical mode. This raw-nerved subway-prophet depiction of a drop-out Jesus?”who would still be crucified today”?descends into strangulated, anguished howls at the song’s climax. This startling, if incoherent d