1967. Bob Dylan temporally out of action, but a whole load of exciting new music for the young mind to take in. The Beatles, The Byrds, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe and The Fish, Love, The Mothers Of Invention, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - they all entertained, amazed, warmed the spirit and carried us through those days.
Own up time. I unfortunately overlooked this gem when is came out. Maybe it was dismissed as being too fey and folky. After all, how could two chaps from Scotland compete with the psychedelic big guns and San Franciscan darlings? A variety of routes, most significantly an article in Mojo Magazine's recent excellent "Hendrix and The Summer Of Love" edition, now lead me to investigate this forty years on!
A happy surprise. What we have here is a marvellous collection of songs by this talented duo here reaching their peak form. Their special interaction with, and support for each other bursts forth and this along with their next release was certainly a golden interlude for Heron and Williamson. Folky this obviously is, but such a whole lot more besides. The use of Eastern instrumentation is truly trail blazing, being fully integrated and in no way merely incorporated as a facile fashionable gimmick.
It now appears to me to be an important, unique offering. Muchly of it's time, it may be said, but like all great albums, also beyond it. Often quoted as being Paul McCartney's favourite record of that year, at this distance it still stands as a mighty achievement, not to be underestimated.
The best album of 1967? Well, there's fierce competition - "Are You Experienced", The Doors' eponymous debut, Arthur Lee's masterwork "Forever Changes", "Safe As Milk" - but here's an unexpected candidate. A magical listening pleasure four decades down the line!