ECLECTION: prog-folk thats firmly rooted in 1968

12th December 2016

Title: Eclection

Label: Esoteric

An intriguing album from 1968 that is infused with the culture of the time and especially the music surrounding it. This might be a prog folk album but, from the first few notes of the first track In Her Mind you think, ‘Ah, the Beatles’. There are regular chordal connections and arrangement insertions here that reflect The Beatles. I’m not inferring rip-off, more like a melodic tone. Next, for the lead vocal, wheel in the Moody Blues for that one because the vocal has a distinct Justin Hayward aspect to it, both in terms of the delivery but also nuances and inflections.

Probably more than any influence, though, is the Californian feel to the songs. There’s a distinctly laid back hippy feel to this one. You could imagine any of the Woodstock attendees humming these songs as they stepped over stoned bodies and dodged suspicious public loos. The sometimes baroque nature of these arrangements gives the album a distinctly period feel.

A major facet of the vocal style is co-singer, Kerrilee Male, who would fit easily into the folk outfit, The Seekers. Her ‘correct’, rather straight-backed, articulate singing, lends a real folk edge to the music that, otherwise, really wants to be The Byrds. Male provides a certain folkie tension to the prog-like flavours of the instrumentalists, therefore. It also gives the album an attractive air that resembles Tudor Lodge.

The mastering displayed a broad soundstage based upon a fairly low volume cut that allows your hi-fi to dig out the necessary detail. Instrumental separation was admirable, giving the comparatively complex arrangement  a chance to be heard in all its glory.

Also look out for other Esoteric releases, this month including How We Live’s Dry Land (1987), featuring Marillion’s Steve Hogarth and Colosseum’s Live (1971) featuring a bonus second CD of released material.