Long-awaited re-release for one of the great lost albums of the early '70s
Having been groomed for pop stardom by Mickie Most and then almost securing a gig in Led Zeppelin over Robert Plant, by the early ’70s Terry Reid’s career was drifting without a rudder. Then out of nowhere he released River.
Virtually ignored when it appeared in 1973, I was one of the tiny handful of people who bought it. At the time, my favourite albums were Tim Buckley’s Happy Sad, David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. Life was a constant search for other records with the same stoned, fluid, jazzy quality and there wasn’t much of it about. In British rock, it was virtually non-existent.
Mighty Baby had hinted at it (check out their wonderful jam, “There’s A Blanket In My Muesli”, on the long unavailable triple vinyl album from the 1971 Glastonbury Festival). Traffic got halfway there on tracks such as “The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys”.
But, basically, you had to look west?and specifically to southern California. Which was exactly what Reid did. At 23 and with a failed pop career behind him, he relocated to the West Coast, signed to Atlantic and, working with the late Tom Dowd, recorded River. Musically, it’s extraordinary. David Lindley?of blessed Kaleidoscope memory?plays magnificent languid and laidback guitar lines. Reid’s vocals meander and caress their way through the shimmering jazz-folk abstractions, deconstructing his words so that the voice becomes a vehicle of pure sound