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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dando shaft evening with, 6 Oct. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: An Evening With (Audio CD)
This is dandos' first album now released on CD. I first bought this on vinyl during the late 60's and tunes on the album haunted me despite having lost the album over thirty years ago. The music has retained a freshness and originality which still stands up today. Although the second album and Lantaloon are somewhat more popular among the bands followers, it has to be said that the originalityof some of the tracks are unsurpassed. This is a "must have " purchase for lovers of the contemporary folk genre.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dando Shaft Anthology Review, 4 Oct. 2010
Coming Home To Me, the gorgeous opener track on Dando Shaft's second album, was the first thing I heard by them, on the Early Morning Hush compilation, and this quite glorious song was enough to encourage me to look out for more. At the time I'd not heard of them and I am not entirely sure why they (apparently) vanished so completely from the radar for so many years, but that was the fate of many of Britain's acid-folk and folk-rock pioneers, so they were in good company during their stay in oblivion.

Anthology compiles Dando Shaft's first three albums, that originally saw the light of day in 1970, 1971 and 1972 respestively, along with half a dozen rarities. The band went on to release a fourth album later in the decade.

The first eight tracks, that make up An Evening With Dando Shaft, have slightly rough-hewn production, but rather than detract from the experience, this actually makes the set sound like precious archeological artifacts freshly unearthed. The lead singer has a dark and lithe voice, on September Wine he sounds not unlike Martin Carthy. I'm particularly fond of the opening three songs, and End Of the Game later on is also very nice.

Dando Shaft, the second album, is the closest they get to creating a classic album, an album endowed with many a strong strong, but overall I think it falls just short. Here we first hear new member Polly Bolton, singing with a clear and agile voice, adding favourably to the band's sound, particularly on the lovely Riverboat. Songs range from fleet-footed barnstormers to gentle wistful pieces, with a defined bias towards infectiously upbeat songs, such as the deleriously joyous Kaliope Driver and Waves Upon The Ether, where Celtic elements intertwine with Balkan flavours. After the heady heights early on, the latter part of this album seems to fizzle out, the instrumental Dewet, while no doubt a technical marvel, seems quite pointless to me. Most of the later tracks are also rather too short, adding to the impression that the set is slipping away between our fingers, not to mention giving the sense that perhaps some of these pieces should have been further developed into more substantial songs that could have given the album a more sustained heft.

Disc two begins with a set from a radio session. Spring Clog Dance (later released as a single retitled Sun Clog Dance and also featured here) unfortunatly does the band no favours, with a half-baked lyric and something of a (presumably unintentionally parodic) country-bumpkin vibe. The instrumental Thruxton Flute is nice, whilst things get curiouser and curioser with Don't Forget The Animal.

Lantaloon gets off to a rousing start with Car Song, powering along with typical exuberance, the singer reminding me here of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. This album seems a little weaker than the second, but there are some great tracks here too, I particularly like Is It Me?, The Harp Lady I Bombed, and I Heard Somewhere, but there is a niggling concern elsewhere that quality control was at a lower setting, or else their edge was blunted because they were having so much fun! Their carefree attitude perhaps works both for and against them, in a sense.

The sleeve design on this collection is not what it should be, sadly, from the dubious design of the front cover to the bland layout and a hazey print-job which makes reading the informative essay a slightly unpleasant exercise. Meanwhile, the design of the tray insert is a complete mess and I have to wonder what was going on at Cherry Red Records that day, for this to get approved. This shabby effort does the band no justice, they deserve good packaging!

Overall I find this collection very good, but inconcistent. There are spells when things go off the boil, and sometimes there's some rather bland lyrics, and dubious twee excursions, but at their best, when performing as a tight and focused unit, Dando Shaft were pretty thrilling.
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An Evening With
An Evening With by Dando Shaft (Audio CD - 2001)
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