Ackles' 3rd record' "American Gothic"' is the supossed tour de force, and - if you believe what you read, the necessesary first port of call. So I bought it. I liked it (a lot) - enough, in fact, to go out and snatch up the guy's entire back catalogue. All 4 albums are killers - but for me, it's this, his self-titled debut that stands a notch above the successive 3. Possibly the defining moment of 1968? Beats me, I wasn't born - but its been the soundtrack to many a beautiful evening of 2001, chez moi. Deft social comment runs through the record; isolation, piety, poverty, greed - Ackles hadles them all with grace and aplomb (check out the faux-Marxist ramblings on 'Laissez-Faire' - "I got no overhead, no taxes to pay - I just got one rollaway bed, that they want to rollaway - sure I've heard what they're saying - share the wealth? I don't believe it!"). But this is chiefly a collection of love songs - organ-tinged odes to that elusive influence upon many a great LP. File alongside Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Leonard Cohen and all your other favourite genius'. To quote Ackles - "what a happy day, what a groovy morning - this is my garden, and you're welcome". Killer gear - one to fall in love with (& to).