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And I Turned...,
This review is from: And I Turned As I Had Turned As A Boy (Digipak) (Audio CD)
And I Turned As I Had Turned As A Boy was the debut album by Dulcimer, a trio from Gloucestershire who created fey psychedelic folk and pop. Most of the songs are based around 2-part harmony vocals, acoustic guitars and bass, whilst harmonica, mandolin, glockenspiel, recorder, coconuts and dulcimer add further layers across several tracks.
Lead singer Dave Eaves sounds rather similar to Al Stewart, and so comparisons are bound to be made, but the comparison doesn't particularly extend to the lyrics, which here are less grounded, more flights of fancy like pages from childrens storybooks, as indeed is alluded to in the album's artwork. Lisa's Song and Suzanne (not Leonard Cohen's classic) sound very much like Simon And Garfunkel, without quite reaching that duo's level of eloquence. I am also reminded now and then of Tudor Lodge, particularly for the overall light-filled quality of the album, and also for sporadic miss-steps lyrically that sometimes make me cringe, as with the bit about squirrels and hedgehogs in This Is My Life. I'm sure that back in the day it all seemed perfectly fine, after all The Incredible String Band got away with singing about hedgehogs.
The album's 8-minute centrepiece, Caravan, is my favourite track, it is a glorious romantic epic, made otherworldly by it's arrangement spanning different movements, the dreamy glockenspiel line, mandolin and dulcimer creating a complex setting for a tale about the gypsies. It is one of two songs to feature the voice of actor Richard Todd solemnly reciting several stanzas. His delivery is very similar to that of Richard Burton and whilst the pairing of his voice with such dreamy music seems on paper to make for an unlikely combination it does in fact come over effectively, to my thinking, though at the same time I have to wonder how it would have sounded for instance with a female voice. Richard Todd championed the band after hearing them playing in the Cotswolds.
Other highlights include opener Sonnet To The Fall (also featuring Richard Todd), and Starlight, both gentle mystical songs that seem perfect settings for Dave Eaves' voice. I'm also very fond of Mormon's Casket, which features the aforementioned coconuts as the sound of horses hooves - I can't help but think of their use for the same effect in Monty Python And The Holy Grail, and along with the knightly theme of the song this makes it all the more endearing! My favourite songs remind me of past times, English countryside, candlelit rooms and incense, when their presence would have been perfect.