Week of April 13, 2008


Steve Borrill - Bass
Martin Cockerham - Guitar, Vocals
Julian Cusack - Violin, Keyboards
Barbara Gaskin - Vocals
Dave Mattacks - Drums
Rick Biddulph - Mandolin
Alan Laing - Cello
Steve Ashley - Flute
John Boyce - Cello
Henry Lowther - Trumpet
Stan Sulzman - Flute

St.Radigunds (B&C CAS 1042) 1971; Si Wan SRML 5005, S.Korea

Old Boot Wine (Pegasus PEG 13) 1972

Bells, Boots And Shambles (Polydor 2310 246) 1973; Si Wan SRML 5007, S.Korea
CD: Repertoire RR 4137 WZ, 1991

CD (All three albums): A Canterbury Tale, Castle/Sanctuary CMQDD 1258, 2005

CD: Burn The Bridges (The Demo Tapes 1970 - 1971), Repertoire REP 4846, 2000

Dangerous Dave/Captain's Log (PS) (Pegasus PEGS 3) 1972
I Hear You're Going Somewhere/Old Boot Wine (Polydor 2001 419) 1973

Starting as a quartet with Mattacks helping out, the group attributed much of the charm of their first album to the crystal voice of Gaskin, combined with the imaginative arrangements of Cusack and the strangely beautiful melodies of Cockerham. Too often, though, the latter sings his own songs, with a voice that is too strained to convince, preventing this album from becoming a psych-folk classic. Some excellent songs are present, though. The second album augments the sound with cello and mandolin and also gives more room to Gaskin's clarity of voice, but the material is less strong and although the good tracks are almost brilliant, the bad ones offer nothing but irritation. Somehow it all crystallises on the third album, where suddenly a wholeness is reached instead of the fragmentary former efforts. The atmosphere of sadness and despair, which permeated the first two albums as well, now becomes chillingly urgent, while the contribution of Lowther on trumpet works wonders, greatly so on 'The Furthest Point', a minor classic by itself. Unfortunately this album is very difficult to obtain. All three albums were also issued in Germany on Brain and are a bit less rare than their British counterparts. Definitely worth investigating.

Barbara Gaskin later appeared with Hatfield and The North and National Health. She then enjoyed a hit as part of a duo with Dave Stewart (who'd also been in those bands) covering Lesley Gore's 'It's My Party'. Dave Mattacks was in Fairport Convention.

'The Clogs' folk sampler, on which 'Captain's Log' from their first album appeared, suggested Cockerham would become one of the great songwriters of the period.

(Marcel Koopman/Vernon Joynson/Mike Warth)

Discography and personnel data taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson ISBN 1 899855 04 1

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